Federal District Judge Richard Casey in New York today ruled that the federal government cannot enforce the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act because the law conflicts with an earlier 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in favor of partial-birth abortion. Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the NRLC, commented: Judge Casey said his ruling was dictated by a 5 to 4 Supreme Court ruling in 2000, which held that Roe v. Wade protects partial-birth abortion. Future appointments to the Supreme Court will determine whether it remains legal to mostly deliver living premature infants and painfully puncture their skulls. President Bush is determined to ban partial-birth abortion, but John Kerry voted against the ban and has vowed that he will appoint only justices who agree with him. Senator Kerry voted against passing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act every chance he got — six times.
President Bush signed the bill 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. The Bush Administration is currently defending the law against three separate legal challenges in three different federal courts. In today’s ruling, Judge Casey said, The Court finds that the testimony at trial and before Congress establishes that D&X [partial-birth abortion] is a gruesome, brutal, barbaric, and uncivilized medical procedure. Judge Casey also wrote that credible evidence that [such] abortions subject fetuses to severe pain. Notwithstanding this evidence, some of Plaintiffs’ experts testified that fetal pain does not concern them, and that some do not convey to their patients that their fetuses may undergo severe pain during a D&X [partial-birth abortion].
On May 20, Senator Sam Brownback (R-Ks.) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (S. 2466, H.R. 4420). This bill would require that abortionists provide women seeking any type of abortion past 20 weeks with certain information regarding the capacity oftheir unborn children to experience pain and regarding the availability of pain-reducing drugs. For more information on the bill and on the issue of fetal pain, see http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/fetal_pain/index.html The National Right to Life Committee maintains the most comprehensive collection of documentation on partial-birth abortion available anywhere on the Internet, at http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/index.html
For a good primer on what the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act does and does not do, and on other disputed issues pertaining to partial-birth abortion, see the memo “Partial-Birth Abortion: Misconceptions and Realities,” here:
A collection of key documents pertinent to medical issues surrounding partial-birth abortion are posted here:
http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/keymedical.html [25 Aug 2004, National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) Washington, D.C. http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/index.html; Pro-Life E-News, 26Aug04]