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Sunday, 22 April 2007 23:29

Ban of "Partial Birth Abortion"

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slide32The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision released Wednesday, has reversed two lower court rulings and upheld a law passed by the former Republican-controlled Congress that bans a specific method for late-term abortions called “Partial Birth Abortion”. According to experts this decision has political repercussions and delivered an immediate political boost to pro life groups as well as bringing the issue to the forefront for Democratic presidential hopefuls. "This isn't really an abortion issue," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, as she walked the Capitol on Friday. "That is what really saddens me about what the justices said. "This is about a procedure that any parent would want her daughter to have access to if she needed it. And to frame it as an abortion issue is doing a disservice to medicine and to our young women and our country. So I hope we can get the focus back on the fact that this Supreme Court is deciding what medical procedures are necessary for childbearing women." 
The court's decision let stand a federal ban on the abortion procedure called "partial-birth". The procedure, known medically as intact dilation and extraction, is generally performed in the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy, often after a diagnosis of fetal abnormality. Rather than the more common practice of dismembering the fetus in the womb, the doctor partly removes the intact fetus from the uterus before aborting it, usually by puncturing its skull. The 2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, signed by President Bush, outlawed the procedure, but the law was found unconstitutional by the lower courts. Among the five Supreme Court justices who upheld the law were Bush's two appointees -- Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Democrats, who now narrowly control both houses of Congress, theoretically are in a position to try to pass a new law making the procedure legal. Less than 24 hours of the court's decision, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., reintroduced her Freedom of Choice Act, which would allow for a woman's health and welfare to be factored into the decision to have a late-term abortion under the procedure banned by the court. A similar bill was introduced in the House.
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