Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recent reproductive rights rulings ...

A quick recap of two recent rulings that may be of interest:

Yesterday, a federal appeals court overturned Virginia's ban on late-term abortion, passed in 2003 as the "Partial Birth Infanticide Act". Although the US Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on late-term abortion in 2007 (Gonzales v. Carhart), the Richmond-based US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit concluded that the Virginia ban was overly restrictive in comparison. In particular, unlike the federal ban, the Virginia law provided no legal protection for physicians who "accidentally" perform an intact dilation and extraction while performing a second-trimester abortion.

Across the pond, the British Parliament voted to keep an upper limit of 24 weeks for elective abortion, rebuffing critics who sought to lower the limit to 12 weeks. A very small number of infants born after only 24 weeks of gestation survive, but a majority of British MPs felt that the small chance of survival did not justify further restrictions on a woman's right to choose.

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