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ADF and CLS:  Partial-birth abortion ruling upholds common sense and rule of law   

Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of federal ban on partial-birth abortion
Published On: 10/18/2017

WASHINGTON — Wednesday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the federal ban on partial-birth abortion is “a ruling for common sense and the rule of law,” according to attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and the Christian Legal Society.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court upholds and acknowledges that the federal ban on partial-birth abortion is a reasonable restriction on abortion,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence.  “This is a welcome sign of judicial restraint from the Supreme Court.  It allows legislators to deal with the complexities of the abortion situation rather than having courts impose rigid rules that block sensitive and moral-based solutions to the abortion controversy.”

ADF and CLS filed a friend-of-the-court brief at the U.S. Supreme Court May 22 urging the justices to uphold the federal ban.

In the opinion issued today, the high court wrote, “In a decision so fraught with emotional consequence, some doctors may prefer not to disclose precise details of the means that will be used....  It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know:  that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fastdeveloping brain of her unborn child....”

“There’s nothing in the Constitution that gives an abortionist the complete freedom to end a life, particularly when the baby is about to be born,” said CLS Director Gregory S. Baylor.  “That’s exactly what’s happening when an abortionist performs a partial-birth abortion just seconds before the baby takes her first breath.”

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortion in Stenberg v. Carhart, saying the language in the ban was too vague.  Congress then passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003, having clarified the language to remedy the Supreme Court’s earlier concerns in Stenberg.

Congress concluded that a “moral, medical, and ethical consensus exists that the practice of performing a partial-birth abortion…is a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited.”

A copy of the opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carhart is available here.  ADF and CLS attorneys also filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a companion case, Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood of America.