Monday, November 06, 2006

Are 'Partial Birth' Abortions Ever Medically Necessary?

On Nov. 8, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court revisits the Partial Birth Abortion issue again in the cases of Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood. The Supreme Court had addressed in this issue 2000, in Stenberg v. Carhart, where a 5-4 decision struck down a state statute in part because it contained an exception only in cases where a woman's life is in danger and did not allow a similar exception to protect a woman's health. Nebraska legislators have re-drafted the legislation to declare that 'partial-birth' abortions are never medically necessary, hoping that the Supreme Court will find this law to be constitutional. (Query: If a legislature declares something to be a fact, does that automatically make it true? Like if the legislature declared Omaha, Nebraska to be the center of the universe, does that make it so?)

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has done a thorough job of delineating all the background on the partial-birth abortion issue, if you'd like to download the 12 page document.

And NPR interviews Obstetricians who challenge the notion that so-called 'partial birth' abortion is never medically necessary.


1 comment:

BuddhistValkyrie said...

What I've found particularly interesting about this, aside from the almost pitching to the federalist judges by those arguing against the ban, is that there's been a switch in position by the right to life folk, as well. Originally, the RTL'ers portrayed partial birth abortion that happened to frequently it must be banned to stop such heinous a crime, and now they're arguing that it's very rare, but should be banned on principle. The shift coming so that more moderate conservatives don't start abandoning the party line because they feel that partial birth ban is an attempt to ban all abortions.

It will be interesting to see how the court rules - including the two new justices.