Archive for Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Appeal may lead to abortion showdown

September 27, 2005


— The Bush administration is asking the Supreme Court to reinstate a national ban on a type of late-term abortion, a case that could thrust the president's first court picks into an early tie-breaking role on a divisive and emotional issue.

The appeal follows a two-year, cross-country legal fight over the law and highlights the power that Bush's nominees will have. Just a few months ago, there would have been five votes to strike down the law, which bars what critics call partial-birth abortion.

The outcome is now uncertain, with moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retiring and her replacement still unnamed.

"This no longer puts the abortion issue in the abstract with the Supreme Court. This is as live a controversy as you can get," Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, said Monday.

Abortion was already expected to be a major subject in the next round of confirmation hearings, just as it was with the hearings of John Roberts to be chief justice. The Senate began debating Roberts' nomination on Monday, with confirmation expected later this week.

President Bush had supported the 2003 law outlawing what he termed an "abhorrent practice." President Clinton twice vetoed similar bills, arguing that they lacked an exception to protect the health of the mother, something the Supreme Court has said is required in abortion laws.

The law Bush signed was challenged even before it took effect and has never been enforced. Challengers won rulings in New York, California and Nebraska that the law was unconstitutional because of the lack of a health exception.

The Supreme Court is already dealing with a similar issue, in a test of New Hampshire's parental notification statute. That case turns on whether the state law is unconstitutional because it lacks an exception allowing a minor to have an abortion to protect her health in the event of a medical emergency.

The court should review both cases, Solicitor General Paul Clement said in the appeal, filed Friday and released Monday.

The federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act prohibits a type of abortion, generally carried out in the second or third trimester, in which a fetus is partially delivered before being killed.

The earliest that justices could hear arguments on the law is next spring. By then, the court should have two new members.


trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 8 months ago

parital abortion is murder.. come on the baby is 9 months .then they wait till its head ,come almost out to put a tub in the babies brain and kill it... and you think this is okay ! its murder it hurt the baby!! how would you like it if someone killed you that way????????????????if you dont want a baby abort it in the first 6wks... not at nine months.............

bettie 12 years, 8 months ago

first of all, trueninetiesgirl, i don't know where you pulled the "9 months" from. "partial birth abortion" is a non-medical term used by opponents to describe the procedure known as intact dilation and extraction. there is no specific timeframe for the ban in question, but the procedure generally is used after the 22nd week of gestation.

secondly, it's very important to consider the circumstances under which this procedure would be performed. there are only 3 clinics in the country that provide this service (one in wichita, ks) and each of them operate under state laws ban it except in the following cases:

-the life or health of the mother would be endangered by carrying the pregnancy to term

-the fetus will not survive

to reiterate: a woman can only get a late-term abortion if her life or health are in danger or if the fetus will not survive anyway. enforcement of these laws is not lax. the abortion provider must have the documented agreement of another doctor not affiliated with the clinic before carrying it out.

the main reason these abortions happen late in the term is that often, fetal abnormalities and health risks to the mother are unidentifiable early in pregnancy. these are most often wanted pregnancies, not cases of mothers who - in your words - "don't want a baby".

the decision to have a late term abortion is not one that is taken lightly by anyone involved. besides being very traumatic, it is also a dangerous procedure. it is less dangerous, however, than the mothers in these situations carrying their pregnancies to term.

to be very clear, the "partial birth abortion ban" does nothing but remove the health exception from laws that are already in place, so i would hope that anyone arguing in favor of it understands what they are really saying: that fetuses - even ones that will not survive past labor - must be saved at the expense of the women who carry them.

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 8 months ago

well my 15yr old daughter found this on the internet, were the baby was nine months and was used a parital birth adoption on.

bettie 12 years, 8 months ago

okay, i should have been clearer. i wasn't saying that the procedure never took place in the ninth month. i just wanted to clear up a misconception. messages like yours and the made-up name "partial-birth abortion" give the impression that a baby is born and killed in this procedure. that is simply not the case. if delivery were a safe option, the procedure would not be performed in the first place.

since you have a daughter, do you know anyone who would choose to go through what you went through for 9 months and then terminate the pregnancy by choice? even if they wanted to, they legally couldn't.

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 8 months ago

i could have never killed my baby. and even though i new she was going to be born with a braininjury i still caried her as far as i could. she almost killed me. i had sezuires and was in icu and in hospital for almost three she has cereval palsey and i still would never have change a thing. oh i do understand and do agree with what you said. mine was only one side not both i see that thanks.

bettie 12 years, 8 months ago

i really admire you for all you've been through, and i'm so glad that you and your daughter both survived the ordeal. you seem like a very courageous person.

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