The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Supreme Court Sets Hearing on Partial-Birth Abortion

Posted by thelamp on August 23, 2006

The U.S. Supreme Court announced last week that it would hear arguments on the constitutionality of a law banning partial-birth abortion Wednesday, Nov. 8, the day after the national mid-term elections. The timing of the hearing means it’s likely that no decision on the cases will be handed down until 2007.

The court will hear both cases dealing with the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood. In each of these cases, federal appeals courts have ruled that the law was unconstitutional – in Carhart because it lacks an exception for the health of the mother and in Planned Parenthood because it supposedly imposes an undue burden on women and is too vague. The high court agreed to hear Carhart in February of this year and added Planned Parenthood to its docket in June. It wasn’t known until last week whether the cases would be heard together or separately.

In May CMC submitted a legal brief to the court, arguing for the constitutionality of the law from the point of view of survivors of late-term abortions.

President Bush signed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act in November 2003, fulfilling a campaign pledge to do so if the bill reached his desk (Pastor Rod Parsley, CMC’s founder and president, was present at the bill-signing ceremony). The law, however, has never been enforced because activist judges ruled it unconstitutional almost immediately after it was signed. The Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter will be final, and it will be an initial early test of whether the court’s ideological balance truly has shifted following last year’s confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel Alito Jr.

During a partial-birth abortion, the mother’s cervix is dilated over a period of two or three days, and the doctor uses forceps to grasp the baby’s leg. The baby is turned to a breech position, if necessary, and the doctor pulls one or both legs out of the birth canal. The doctor then births the rest of the baby, usually without the aid of forceps, leaving only the head still inside the birth canal. With sufficient force, the doctor then inserts scissors into the base of the skull, spreads the scissors to widen the opening and inserts a suction catheter. The brain tissue then is removed, killing the baby, and allowing the baby’s body to pass easily through the cervix. It’s truly a horrifying procedure – one which never should have been legalized in this nation.

CMC welcomes the news that the court has scheduled these important cases early in its term, which begins Oct. 2, and prays for the time when no more babies die because of partial-birth abortion.

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