Thursday, August 26, 2004

Ode To The Courts - Part 2

Last November, Congress passed and George W. Bush signed into law the Partial Birth Abortion Act. This law criminalizes any "overt act" by doctors to "kill the partially delivered living fetus." Three lawsuits were immediately filed against the law, one in California, one in New York and one in Nebraska. The judges in these cases halted enforcement of the law until the lawsuits were settled. On June 1, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled the law unconstitutional "in several regards and that it created a risk of criminal liability for virtually all abortions performed after the first trimester." Today, a federal judge in New York concurred.

According to The New York Times:

A federal judge in New York ruled today that a federal law that banned a form of abortion is unconstitutional because it does not include an exception for cases where the procedure might be necessary to protect a woman's health...Today's ruling, by Judge Richard Conway Casey of the Federal District Court for the Southern District, came in a case brought by the National Abortion Federation and seven physicians. Judge Casey determined that a decision in 2000 by the Supreme Court required that any law limiting abortion must have a clause allowing doctors to go ahead with the procedure if they determine that the risk to a women's health is greater without it..."The evidence indicates that the same disagreement among experts found by the Supreme Court existed throughout the time that Congress was considering the legislation, despite Congress' findings to the contrary," the judge wrote. "The court cannot ignore that the evidence indicates a division of medical opinion exists about the necessity" of the procedure as a means to preserve women's health.


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