Virginia Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Decision Draws Scorn from Pro-Life Groups

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 21, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Virginia Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Decision Draws Scorn from Pro-Life Groups

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 21
, 2008

Richmond, VA ( — An appeals court’s decision to declare the Virginia partial-birth abortion ban unconstitutional has drawn scorn from pro-life groups. This is the second time the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down the state’s ban and the recent decision came after a positive Supreme Court ruling.

By a 2 to 1 vote, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held Virginia’s ban on the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure unconstitutional in Richmond Medical Center v. Herring.

The Supreme Court had ordered the appeals court judges to reconsider the ban after issuing its April 2007 decision saying the Congressional ban does not violate the Constitution.

They still struck down the ban, and that didn’t go over well with Olivia Gans, the president of the Virginia Society for Human Life.

“The majority of Virginians strongly supported Virginia’s partial birth abortion ban as consistent with the values of the citizens of the Commonwealth," she told after the decision.

"Pulling a living unborn child from his mother’s womb, stabbing him in the back of the head, removing his brains and then completing the delivery, the now dead baby is never a medically necessary procedure," Gans explained.

Gans said her group is encouraging Virginia Attorney General Robert McDonald to appeal the appellate court decision back to the Supreme Court.

In their opinion, Judges M. Blane Michael and Diana Gribbon Motz claim the law "imposes criminal liability" on abortion practitioners who "accidentally" perform a partial-birth abortion.

Mary Spaulding Balch, a National Right to Life attorney who specializing in state pro-life legislation, told the appeals court used "extremely contorted reasoning to reach an unreasonable decision."

"Today’s decision flies in the face of common sense, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the will of the majority of the people of Virginia," she said.

"In conforming the reasoning of their decision to reach a seemingly predetermined conclusion, the majority overstepped their bounds," Balch added. "We join with the Virginia Society for Human Life in calling on Virginia Attorney General McDonnell to appeal today’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court."

Judge Paul Niemeyer "profoundly" dissented and argued that the majority’s opinion "is based on a glaring misreading of both the Virginia Act and the Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzales v. Carhart."

Related web sites:
Virginia Society for Human Life –
National Right to Life –