by Steven Ertelt
July 19, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Bush’s nominee to the Supreme Court will immediately be in the hot seat on tough Supreme Court issues. Outgoing pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the deciding vote to overturn a state ban on partial-birth abortions and a new justice will have to decide whether to overturn the decision.
President Bush signed a national partial-birth abortion ban into law and, earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit said it violated the Supreme Court’s 2000 decision saying such bans need a health exception.
"Five years ago, five justices of the Supreme Court, including Justice O’Connor, ruled that Roe v. Wade allows an abortionist to perform a partial-birth abortion any time he sees a ‘health’ benefit, even if the woman and her unborn baby are entirely healthy," said National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson.
Johnson said the Eight Circuit’s decision "underscores the fact that the successor to Justice O’Connor will cast the deciding vote on whether the brutal partial-birth abortion method remains legal."
President Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act on November 5, 2003, saying that in partial-birth abortion "a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth."
However, abortion advocacy groups and abortion practitioners took the case to court claiming that the ban lacks a health exception. Congress, during hearings on the bill, heard from numerous doctors who said that the three-day long abortion procedure is never necessary in emergency medical situations.
Both the Second and Ninth Circuit courts will hear two other appeals on the federal law, and, ultimately, the case will make its way to the Supreme Court perhaps during the 2005-2006 term.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council agreed that the appeals court decision on the national partial-birth abortion ban was made because of the Supreme Court decision.
"The district court’s decision does not come as a shock," he said. "This ruling is one of many decisions brought before the district courts on the back of the Supreme Court decision in Stenberg v. Carhart."
O’Connor’s replacement will determine whether the high court’s precedent will remain. The new justice will also hear a case out of New Hampshire dealing with a state parental involvement law, which the Supreme Court has previously affirmed in other cases.