Partially Victorious Or Blowing Smoke?

April 18, 2007 09:00 AM

I found it interesting that the Supreme Court upheld the Partial Birth Abortion Law that contains a life of the mother exception. I found it even more interesting that the justices themselves found the law "facially" constitutional, pointing out that the lawsuits challenging the partial birth abortion law should never have been allowed in court anyway.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, made it clear that the proper way to challenge such a law, "if an abortion ban is claimed to harm a woman's right to abortion," is through an as-applied claim. In other words, the law can be challenged again based on a particular mother's claim that if she does not get a partial birth abortion, her life will be endangered.

Kennedy said: "the Court was assuming that the federal ban would be unconstitutional 'if it subjected women to significant health risks.'"

Justice Kennedy clarified that other options are readily available to the woman in such a circumstance, so no significant obstacle to obtaining an abortion exists even though the partial birth abortion law was upheld.

In other words, the decision rendered today simply outlaws most of a particular type of abortion; it does not limit when an abortion can be done nor does it limit abortions by other methods up through the moment of birth. 

The pro-abortion crowd will scream bloody murder, of course. And the Republicans will use today's decision to distance themselves from "radical" pro-life positions, but in point of fact, what was really won today?

If pro-lifers consider this a victory, then somebody better check what they are putting in their coffee.

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