by Steven Ertelt
August 11, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Leading abortion advocates, including the ACLU and a trade group for abortion businesses, filed a legal brief with the Supreme Court Friday asking it to reject the Congressional ban on partial-birth abortions. They said the gruesome abortion procedure, opposed by as many as 80 percent of Americans, should stay legal.
The ACLU and the National Abortion Federation (NAF) said the court should uphold appeals court rulings striking down the ban because they claim partial-birth abortions are necessary to protect women’s health.
That’s despite numerous doctors and medical groups have said the three-day long abortion procedure is never medically necessary.
Vicki Saporta, NAF president and CEO, claimed the partial-birth abortion ban "prohibits abortions as early as 13 weeks in pregnancy that doctors say are safe and among the best to protect women’s health."
“We hope that the Supreme Court will recognize the danger this ban poses to women’s health and allow doctors to continue to make appropriate medical decisions," she said in a statement LifeNews.com obtained.
However, when the American Medical Association convened to study the issue of partial-birth abortions, an expert panel “could not find ‘any’ identified circumstance” where partial-birth abortion “was ‘the only appropriate alternative’” to preserve the health of the mother."
In its brief defending the partial-birth abortion ban, the Justice Department also points to Congressional findings indicating that partial-birth abortions may pose health risks for women. Such risks include cervical incompetence, trauma to the uterus, and lacerations or hemorrhaging.
“Decisions involving pregnancy and medical care are among the most serious a woman will make in her life,” Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said about the brief. “These are personal decisions for a woman, her family, and her doctor to make and such decisions should not be mandated by politicians.”
After President Bush signed the partial-birth abortion ban, pro-abortion groups launched three lawsuits against it and federal appeals courts in Nebraska, New York and California declared the ban unconstitutional.
Pro-life groups are hopeful the Supreme Court would take a new position on partial-birth abortion thanks to new Justice Samuel Alito, who replaces Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
O’Connor wrote the 5-4 majority opinion in the 2000 case saying that a Nebraska ban on partial-birth abortion was unconstitutional because it lacked a health exception.
The high court is expected to hold hearings this fall and announce a decision in early 2007.
The California case is Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the high court will likely combine the cases into one. The Nebraska case is Gonzales v. Carhart.