Today's News & Views


MAY 2007
Vol. 34, No. 5

United States Supreme Court
Upholds Ban On
Partial-Birth Abortion

On November 5, 2003, President George W. Bush
signed the historic Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act into law.

Supreme Court Upholds Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act
By Dave Andrusko

Contrary to what had been said in many quarters, not until Justice Anthony Kennedy actually read from the majority opinion upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act could we know for sure that the swing justice on the Supreme Court had, at least in this case, swung in the direction of life.

The composition of the Court had changed since 2000 when the justices handed down their Stenberg v. Carhart decision overturning Nebraska’s law banning partial-birth abortion. Gone was the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, a dissenter in Carhart, as was Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who was part of the five-member majority. They had been replaced by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

At a ceremony at the White House, witnessed by many of the congressmen and senators who led the fight, President Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act into law and vowed to “vigorously defend this law against any who would try to overturn it in the courts.”

And even though Kennedy had dissented in Carhart, he had also made it abundantly clear, in a previous case, that he still affirms the “core holdings” of Roe v. Wade.

Thus it was no sure thing that Kennedy would stay the course in the presence of a newly reconstituted High Court. But he did in a careful reasoned 39-page decision.

There are ten separate stories and editorials in this issue attempting to clarify what there was in Gonzales v. Carhart that evoked from dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “the legal equivalent” (in the words of Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Greenberg) “of jumping up and down and yelling.”

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The “Freedom for Partial-Birth Abortionists Act”
Pro-Abortion Lawmakers Propose “FOCA”
to Invalidate All Limits on Abortion

WASHINGTON (April 25, 2007)—In response to the April 18 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, prominent Democratic members of Congress the next day reintroduced the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA), a proposed federal law to nullify virtually all federal and state limitations on abortion.

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson commented, “In the interests of truth in advertising, the bill should be renamed the ‘Freedom for Partial-Birth Abortionists Act.’”

The House bill, H.R. 1964, was introduced by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who in the new Democratic-majority Congress is the chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee that has jurisdiction over such legislation. At NRL News deadline on April 25, his bill had 71 cosponsors (70 Democrats, one Republican).

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Vol. 34, No. 5


From the President

Wanda Franz, Ph.D.

By Wanda Franz, Ph.D.

By now most pro-lifers will have learned that on April 18, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.  In 1992, Dr. Martin Haskell presented this horrific abortion method to a meeting of fellow abortionists.  NRLC’s incomparable Douglas Johnson got a copy of Haskell’s step-by-step instructional paper—and, as they say, “the rest is history.”  But remember this history amounted to fourteen years of hard work and an enormous expenditure of money before partial-birth abortions were finally banned.  Along the way, we suffered setbacks in the form of two vetoes by Bill Clinton, a hostile main-stream press, a barrage of lies by the abortion pressure groups, and a multitude of adverse court decisions.

The Supreme Court’s latest decision, Gonzales v. Carhart, does not abolish a woman’s so-called “constitutional right” to an abortion.  It only upholds the congressional ban on one specific abortion method.  Yet, the abortionists’ and pro-abortionists’ reaction to the Court decision goes beyond the expected (namely, fund appeals and exhortations to retake the White House in 2008): there is a sense of betrayal and cold fury. 

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