Virginia Atty Gen Wants Full Court Hearing on Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 30, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Virginia Atty Gen Wants Full Court Hearing on Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 30
, 2008

Richmond, VA ( — Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell said on Friday he plans to ask the full 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to hold a hearing on the state’s partial-birth abortion ban. A panel of three judges from the court, in a split 2-1 decision, claimed the state law is unconstitutional.

Marshall says he plans to file the proper legal papers on Monday for a review of the decision by the full twelve member court.

As part of his request, he is relying on the Supreme Court’s decision concerning the federal partial-birth abortion ban, in which the high court said a health exception was not necessary to make the ban legitimate.

The appellate court panel said the Virginia ban doesn’t contain a measure the federal one does that allows abortion practitioners not to be prosecuted if they set out to do a legal abortion procedure and wind up doing a partial-birth abortion instead.

After the decision, pro-life group condemned it.

“The majority of Virginians strongly supported Virginia’s partial birth abortion ban as consistent with the values of the citizens of the Commonwealth," Olivia Gans, the president of the Virginia Society for Human Life, 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’ group had asked Marshall to appeal the decision to the full appellate court.

The 4th Circuit, in a prior decision, had originally declared the partial-birth abortion ban invalid because it failed to include the disputed health exception even though the three-day-long abortion procedure is never necessary to protect a woman’s health.

The judges based their prior decision on a 2000 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Nebraska law banning partial-birth abortions because it didn’t have the health exception.

But the Supreme Court’s more recent decision to uphold the federal ban overturns the Nebraska case.

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