by Steven Ertelt
June 3, 2007
Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — Last week, Wisconsin’s attorney general said the state’s ban on partial-birth abortions is unenforceable. His legal opinion came even though the Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of a national ban on partial-birth abortions that prohibits the grisly procedure nationwide.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said Thursday that Wisconsin’s law is more broad than the language in the federal ban in terms of how it defines the abortion procedure that’s prohibited.
The law has already been to court and a federal appeals court considered it unconstitutional under the Supreme Court’s first ruling on partial-birth abortions in 2000. Then, the high court concluded that a Nebraska ban was void because it did not include a health exception, despite the three-day-long abortion procedure never being necessary to protect a mother’s health.
The ruling ultimately resulted in an injunction against the law that Van Hollen said he didn’t think would be lifted.
Wisconsin Right to Life, the statewide pro-life group, said Van Hollen’s opinion should prompt state legislators to put a new ban in place that state and local officials can enforce.
"Now that he has confirmed that the Wisconsin law is not constitutionally compatible with the federal partial-birth abortion ban, it is time to move forward with a new state ban on the gruesome, late-term abortion procedure," Susan Armacost, the WRTL legislative director, told LifeNews.com.
"Prosecution of partial-birth abortion cases are best handled at the state and local level. It is important that prosecutors have the tools they need to ensure that the ban on partial-birth abortions is expeditiously enforced," Armacost added.
She indicated the group would be working with Senator Scott Fitzgerald and Speaker Mike Huebsch in enacting a new state partial-birth abortion ban.
The pair requested the attorney general’s opinion in the first place and Fitzgerald told AP he would put forward a new bill with language that mirrors the federal law. Huebsch said he would support a bill to do that.
Under the Wisconsin law, abortion practitioners who do a partial-birth abortion would face life in prison.
The number of abortions is at its lowest point in Wisconsin since the year after the Supreme Court overturned pro-life laws across the country in 1973. New statistics in April from the state health department show that there were 9,580 abortions done in the state in 2006, down from 9,817 in 2005.
Related web sites:
Wisconsin Right to Life – https://www.wrtl.org