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ADF: Appeals court ignores evidence, fails to understand barbarity of partial-birth abortion

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit affirms district court decision deeming partial-birth abortion ban unconstitutional
Published On: 10/18/2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.-Today's refusal by a federal appeals court to reverse a district court decision striking down the federal partial-birth abortion ban demonstrates the court's failure to understand the barbarity of the procedure, according to attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund.

"This court apparently would have us believe that there is a constitutional right to crush the skull of a baby that is halfway out of the mother's body," said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb.  "Americans overwhelmingly reject this barbaric procedure, and it is their will, not the will of the courts, that will win in the end."

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit agreed with a federal district court judge in Nebraska that the ban, passed by Congress in 2003, is unconstitutional because it does not contain an exception for the health of the mother.

"Health exceptions are not well defined.  The truth is that just about anything can become a health exception," McCaleb explained.  "Including such an exception would render the ban nearly useless.  Moreover, Congress found that the evidence clearly demonstrates that no such exception would ever be needed."

In the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, Congress wrote, "A partial-birth abortion is never necessary to preserve the health of a woman, poses serious risks to a woman's health, and lies outside the standard of medical care.... There is no credible medical evidence that partial-birth abortions are safe or are safer than other abortion procedures."

ADF funded a friend-of-the-court brief for the 8th Circuit in the case, Carhart v. Gonzales.  The opinion the court issued today can be read here.  ADF also funded a project coordinating friend-of-the-court briefs for three lawsuits involving the partial-birth abortion ban, including the Carhart case.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.