Supreme Court’s Partial-Birth Abortion Decision Hits Post-Abortion Pain

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 22, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Supreme Court’s Partial-Birth Abortion Decision Hits on Post-Abortion Pain Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 22
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — When the Supreme Court handed down its decision last week upholding the national ban on partial-birth abortions, the focus of the case and reaction to it centered on the pain the three-day-long abortion procedure causes an unborn child. However, Justice Anthony Kennedy also touched on post-abortion problems and pain.

People on both sides of the abortion debate were surprised that the high court delved into the issue of how abortion adversely affects women.

They say it’s a line of argument against legalized abortion that could set up an eventual decision overturning Roe v. Wade itself.

In the Roe case, Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion, said the state must be concerned about "preserving and protecting the health of the pregnant woman.”

However, Kennedy’s majority opinion in the partial-birth abortion case, said it was “self-evident” and “unexceptional to conclude” that “some women” who have abortions suffer “regret,” “severe depression,” “loss of esteem” and other ills.

He pointed out that “some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustain."

"Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow," Justice Kennedy added.

In a statement sent to, Care Net president Kurt Entsminger said abortion does indeed hurt women and that the hundreds of pregnancy centers affiliated with the group see large groups of women every year come to them for post-abortion help and healing.

"We agree with the Court: when a woman experiences a partial-birth abortion, when she learns of the details of how her partially-born child was barbarically killed, she could be faced with grief ‘more anguished and sorrow more profound’ than ever dreamed of in her worst nightmares," he said.

"For the sake of the dignity of human life, for the sake of the emotional sanity of women facing unplanned pregnancies, this procedure has no home in a civilized society," Entsminger explained.

The high court also stated that the more a woman knows about the humanity of her unborn child who was aborted, the greater the agony.

"It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know: that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain of her unborn child, a child assuming the human form," the court concluded.

Justice Kennedy relied on a brief submitted by The Justice Foundation on behalf of Sandra Cano, of the Doe v. Bolton case, and 180 women hurt by abortion for the post-abortion commentary.

The brief quoted two thousand notarized affidavits containing testimonies as evidence that abortion hurts women.

One of the women was Rebecca Porter, the Florida leader of Operation Outcry, a leading post-abortion group.

"I deeply regret having used the abortion clinic on South Florida Ave years ago. It was a horrible ‘choice’ that can never be undone," she told

Allan Parker, the lead attorney at TJF said that the high court was "absolutely" aware of the affidavits "and used them in the majority opinion to strike down an abortion procedure for the first time since 1973."

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