Federal Court Overturns States' Abortion Bans

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The fight for the lives of unborn children took an ominous turn Friday as federal appeals courts ruled that state laws banning partial-birth abortion in Arkansas, Iowa, and Nebraska are unconstitutional.

The three unanimous decisions are the first appellate court rulings on the constitutionality of laws banning partial-birth abortions, and they are expected to have ramifications in other states as well as in Congress, where a partial-birth abortion bill is pending.

Pro-life supporters predict that the issue is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, a spokesman for the Family Research Council said in an interview.

"Ultimately it will go to the U.S Supreme Court," Mary Spaulding Balch told the Washington Post.

"The American people support the belief that that particular procedure has to be banned. And we will let the Supreme Court decide," she added.

Thirty states have passed partial-birth abortion laws, but 18 of them have had the laws blocked by federal injunctions or temporary restraining orders.

In all three of the latest rulings, the appellate judges argued that the language covering the bans on partial-birth abortion was too broad and would place an "undue burden" on women seeking abortions.

Before the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the case, the state of Missouri has a test of its ban on partial-birth abortions. Last week, the state legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan's veto of Missouri's partial-birth abortion ban. A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of the ban and has scheduled a trial for March 27 as requested by Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, which is seeking a permanent injunction against the partial-birth abortion ban.