Judge strikes down partial-birth abortion ban

By WND Staff

A federal judge ruled today the federal partial-birth abortion ban is unconstitutional, striking a blow to those determined to outlaw the grisly procedure.

The ruling of U.S. District Judge Richard Casey of Manhattan mirrors one in June in a separate case in San Francisco. One more challenge to the ban, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush, is still pending, in Nebraska.

In his ruling, Casey called partial-birth abortion a “gruesome procedure” but claimed the ban conflicts with a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in 2000 upholding the practice. That decision in the Steinberg v. Carhart case said a “health of the mother” exception must be a part of any abortion ban.

“While Congress and lower courts may disagree with the Supreme Court’s constitutional decision, that does not free them from their constitutional duty to obey the Supreme Court’s rulings,” Casey said.

The case was brought against the federal government by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion Federation.

Casey admitted in his ruling: “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.”

An abortion provider in the Manhattan trial testified an unborn child often is dismembered during the procedure and does not immediately die after limbs are pulled off.

The baby remains alive until the head is crushed, he testified in the case.

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice has been a part of all three cases, supporting the Department of Justice by presenting information about the pain of the unborn baby.

“The truth about this barbaric procedure is finally coming to light – a horrific and repulsive procedure that clearly underscores the need for this ban on partial-birth abortion,” Sekulow said in April. “The testimony of the abortion providers is not only revealing gruesome details about a procedure that amounts to infanticide, but is setting the stage for the Department of Justice to prove that this procedure is never medically necessary.”

Sekulow stated today he was disappointed in the ruling and predicts the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately will rule on the issue.

“The court missed an important opportunity to step-in and protect life by eliminating the bridge between abortion and infanticide,” Sekulow said. “While the decision is disappointing, it’s important to realize that this ruling represents only the beginning of a lengthy legal process that will end at the Supreme Court of the United States.

“We remain committed to working for the protection of human life and outlawing the barbaric procedure known as partial-birth abortion. It is unfortunate that the court failed to uphold the constitutionality of the abortion ban and felt that it was bound by the Supreme Court’s decision in the Nebraska case, but we remain hopeful that the ban ultimately will clear the constitutional hurdles.”

Bush signed the bill in November, saying, “A terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth while the law looked the other way.”

The president’s Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry, voted against the ban six times.

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