US Supreme Court to Hear Partial-Birth Abortion Case

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The US Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear arguments and then rule on whether states can ban partial-birth abortions. The nine justices decided to review a Nebraska law that made it a crime for doctors to perform partial-birth abortions. Thirty states have enacted such law since 1995.

In earlier, lower-court rulings, a federal appeals court struck down the Nebraska law as unconstitutional while another appeals court upheld nearly identical abortion laws in Illinois and Wisconsin.

"Whatever decision the court eventually makes, this case will be our road map for women's reproductive choice in the 21st century," said Janet Benshoof, president of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, which challenged the law.

"This is not a test about the issue of abortions late in pregnancy," Benshoof said in a statement issued from the group's headquarters in New York. "It is a test whose outcome will either affirm or deny the right of half of the country's population to keep legislators, religious groups and those who 'know better' out of women's private medical decision."

The American Center for Law and Justice, an international public interest law firm located in Virginia Beach, VA, said the high court's decision to consider whether states can ban partial-birth abortions puts "the issue of the sanctity of human life back on center stage."

"This is an opportunity for the Court to outlaw on one of the most barbaric forms of death being practiced in our society today," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "This will put the issue of the sanctity of human life back on center stage and provides a critical opportunity for the Court to protect the life of a partially-born child. This case will have profound implications concerning the value society places on human life."

The Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of the procedure, which has been used mainly in late-term pregnancies when the woman faces a medical crisis. Opponents of the procedure consider it a particularly hideous form of abortion late in the third trimester of pregnancy.

The ACLJ focuses on pro-life, pro-family and pro-liberty cases. Sekulow is expected to argue the pro-life case against partial-birth abortions before the Supreme Court. No date for the hearing of arguments or a ruling have been set as yet.