Pro-Life Groups Await Supreme Court’s Partial-Birth Abortion Hearing

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 7, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups Await Supreme Court’s Partial-Birth Abortion Hearing Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 7
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Pro-life organizations are looking forward to Wednesday’s Supreme Court hearing on the national partial-birth abortion ban. They hope the court will be convinced that the gruesome abortion procedure is never necessary to protect a mother’s health and poses medical and emotional risks of its own.

Americans United for Life attorney Clarke Forsythe, who filed briefs in the Supreme Court on the ban, said the case has built up a solid medical record showing the abortion procedure doesn’t help women.

Forsythe said in a statement obtained that the record shows "that no reliable medical evidence exists showing that partial-birth abortion is either safe or effective for any maternal or fetal condition.”

"No studies exist regarding the safety or effectiveness of partial-birth abortion," Forsythe explained. "There is no credible medical authority, except the personal, subjective opinions of individual doctors in this case, that partial-birth abortion is ever needed to protect the physical health of the mother."

Mailee Smith, an AUL attorney who co-authored the group’s brief, told about the kinds of problems women may experience after a partial-birth abortion.

"The medical evidence actually supports multiple possible dangers from partial-birth abortion," she said.

"These risks include heightened risk of placenta previa and pre-term birth in future pregnancies, heightened risk of maternal laceration, increased risk of infection, and heightened risk of uterine trauma," Smith explained.

Meanwhile, the American Center for Law and Justice, which filed briefs in the case on behalf of 80 members of Congress, said the Supreme Court has no basis for keeping the abortion procedure legal.

"Congress spent years deliberating this issue and reached substantial factual findings – including the fact there is never a medical need for this procedure," Jay Sekulow, the group’s chief counsel said.

“This so-called medical procedure amounts to nothing more than infanticide and now the high court is in position to end this gruesome practice once and for all," he added.

In 2000, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to reject a state ban on partial-birth abortion the Nebraska legislature approved. Now, the high court — with two new justices who are expected to be more receptive — may reverse its previous decision.

"Unless the Supreme Court now reverses the extreme position that five justices took in 2000, partly born premature infants will continue to die by having their skulls punctured by seven-inch scissors," National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson said.

Three different federal courts of appeals ruled that the federal law conflicts with the 2000 Supreme Court decision, and they have blocked enforcement of the law. The Supreme Court took the cases from two of the appeals circuits.

Among currently sitting Supreme Court justices, five have voted in favor of Roe v. Wade, including Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens, and Kennedy. Two justices (Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas) have voted to overturn Roe, and two (John Roberts and Samuel Alito) have not voted on the matter.

However, Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with the minority in 2000 and, if he joins Justices Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito they could form a five-member majority and uphold the federal ban.

Related web sites:
Americans United for Life –
National Right to Life –