Appeals Court Judge Takes Pro-Life Stance in Virginia Partial-Birth Abortion Ruling
by Steven Ertelt
June 29, 2009
Richmond, VA (LifeNews.com) — It is only on a very rare occasion that a federal appeals court judge lays out a clear and passionate case for defending the human rights of unborn children. But, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III did just that when he joined the majority of judges who recently upheld a Virginia ban on partial-birth abortions.
In a 6-5 decision last week, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Virginias partial-birth abortion ban.
It reversed a 2-to-1 decision last year from a three-judge panel of members of the appellate court which struck down the ban last year.
In the majority opinion, Judge Wilkinson wrote, A partially born child is among the weakest, most helpless beings in our midst and on that account exerts a special claim on our protection."
"The fact is that we — civilized people — are retreating to the haven of our Constitution to justify dismembering a partly born child and crushing its skull, his opinion continued. Surely centuries hence, people will look back on this gruesome practice done in the name of fundamental law by a society of high achievement. And they will shudder.
Gary Bauer, the former presidential candidate who is now the head of American Values, a pro-family group, noticed the language and applauded Judge Wilkinson.
"What stood out to me in this case was the language of Judge Wilkinson," he told LifeNews.com. "It is not everyday you hear judges argue for the defense of life in such clear, compelling words."
Bauer said Wilkinson would be a good nominee for the Supreme Court.
"It is encouraging to know there are judges who believe in the same values that we hold so dear. I hope that someday Judge Wilkinson will have the opportunity to serve on our highest court in the land," he said.
The decision followed the strong precedent established by the Supreme Courts decision in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) upholding the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
Notably, President Barack Obama, who has cited a respect for judicial precedent as criteria for his judicial nominees, voiced his strong disagreement with the Gonzales decision while serving as U.S. senator from Illinois, couching his support for partial-birth abortion as a matter of womens health.
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