Supreme Court Adds Second Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Appeal to Docket

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 19, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Supreme Court Adds Second Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Appeal to Docket Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 19, 2006

Washington, DC ( — The Supreme Court on Monday added a second Bush administration appeal of a federal appeals court ruling on partial-birth abortions to its docket. That means the nation’s high court will hear two appeals related to the partial-birth abortion ban when it considers the gruesome abortion procedure this fall.

After Congress passed and President Bush signed the federal partial-birth abortion ban in 2003, abortion practitioners and businesses filed three separate lawsuits against it. The lawsuits went to three different appeals courts.

The Bush administration had already appealed the ruling of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to the high court and the Supreme Court’s decision Monday accepts an appeal of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision.

"The Supreme Court took a significant step today that clearly puts the issue of partial-birth abortion front-and-center," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life law firm.

"By taking a second case involving the constitutionality of the national ban on partial-birth abortion, the Supreme Court puts the spotlight on one of the most horrific medical procedures in existence today," he added.

This is the second time the high court has considered a ban on partial-birth abortions.

In 2000, it overturned a Nebraska ban on the procedure on a 5-4 decision. However, the makeup of the court has changed since then, with the most profound difference coming with Justice Samuel Alito replacing Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

O’Connor was the deciding vote in the 2000 decision to strike the ban and wrote the majority decision claiming it was unconstitutional because it lacked a health exception.

Since then, doctors have testified that the three-day long abortion procedure is never necessary to save the life or health of the mother and could cause a host of medical complications for her.

Justice Alito thought to be more likely to uphold the ban and if he disagrees with O’Connor’s decision in the Nebraska case, the high court may very well uphold the federal bill on a 504 vote.

Partial-birth abortions involve an abortion procedure primarily used during the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy on health mothers and health babies. The three day long abortion procedure has the abortion practitioner partially birthing the baby from the mother’s womb and inserting surgical scissors into the base of the baby’s skull to kill her.

It is unknown how many partial-birth abortions occur annually in the United States, but estimates place the number anywhere from 5,000-10,000.

The cases are Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood, 05-1382, and Gonzales v. Carhart, 05-380.