Legislation / Court Cases

Lawsuits Against Partial-Birth Abortions Show Abortion Advocates Lied about the Health Exception

April 18 marked the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Gonzales v. Carhart, in which it rejected legal challenges to the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

While opponents of the ban claimed numerous lawsuits would be brought forth to challenge the Supreme Court’s ruling, thus far no challenges have been filed.

One of the four justices who dissented in the Gonzales ruling to uphold the ban, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, expressed her expectation of challenges.

She claimed they would “be mounted swiftly, to ward off serious, sometimes remediable harm, to women whose health would be endangered by the prohibition.”

Ginsburg also claimed “the record already includes hundreds and hundreds of pages of testimony identifying ‘discrete and well- defined instances’ in which recourse to an intact D&E [partial-birth abortion] would better protect the health of women with particular conditions.”

The lack of challenges in the past year sheds serious doubt on the validity of the testimony and claims of abortion advocates regarding partial birth abortion.

Edward Whelan, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote in a recent National Review article that the ban appears safely constitutional long-term.

“In bringing an as-applied challenge, the abortion industry would have to show (in the Court’s words) that, ‘in discrete and well-defined circumstances, a particular condition has or is likely to occur in which the procedure prohibited by the Act must be used’ to ‘ protect the health of the woman,'” he said.

“It hasn’t dared even to try to do so,” Whelan wrote.

In his article, Whelan explained that, when the Supreme Court declared a state ban on partial-birth abortion unconstitutional in the 2000 case Stenberg v. Carhart, it stated the practice could not be banned until “there exists a medical consensus that there is no circumstance in which any women could potentially benefit from it.”

The 2007 ruling, however, requires that the standard rule of evidence be applied.

That the abortion industry hasn’t brought lawsuit about supposed partial-birth abortions necessary to protect women’s health isn’t a shock to pro-life advocates.

They recall Ron Fitzsimmons, the director of a trade group of abortion businesses, who admitted “I lied through my teeth” when saying abortions were needed for health reasons.

President Bush signed the national partial-birth abortion ban into law in 2003 and abortion advocates took it to court in three separate lawsuits.

Federal courts in each case relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in 2000 and declared the ban unconstitutional.

In 2007, the Supreme Court reversed its 2000 decision.

The 2007 ruling indicated that the federal ban on the abortion procedure did not violate the so-called right to abortion established under Roe v. Wade.

[27Apr08, Nowak, LifeNews.com, DC]