Court Countdown: Partial-Birth Abortion
In Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) the Court upheld
the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.
In the days leading up to the oral arguments
on November 8, 2006, this campaign offered
information on why it was important for the
Court to get it right
Court Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting from the
5-4 opinion in Stenberg v. Carhart that struck down
a state ban on partial-birth abortion:
method of killing a human child ... proscribed
by this statute is so horrible that the most
clinical description of it evokes a shudder
of revulsion. And the Court must know (as most
state legislatures banning this procedure have
concluded) that demanding a 'health exception'– which
requires the abortionist to assure himself
that, in his expert medical judgment, this
method is, in the case at hand, marginally
safer than others (how can one prove the contrary
beyond a reasonable doubt?) – is to give
live-birth abortion free rein." 530 U.S.
914, 953 (2000).
From two physicians widely known for
promoting and using the partial-birth abortion method,
Drs. Martin Haskell and James McMahon:
Haskell said he performs [partial-birth] abortions
'up until about 25 weeks' [of] gestation, most
of them elective. Dr. McMahon does abortions
through all 40 weeks of pregnancy …"
- American Medical News, July 5, 1993, at 22
Testimony of Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand,
expert on fetal and neonatal pain:
Doctor, do you have an opinion as to whether
this [partial-birth abortion] procedure would
cause pain to the fetus ...?
"[Answer:] Yes. If performed on fetuses beyond 20 weeks' gestation, this
procedure has a very high probability of causing prolonged and excruciating pain
to the fetus."
Parenthood v. Ashcroft, 320 F.Supp.2d 957 (N.D.
Cal. 2004), Trial transcript at 1606
Testimony of abortion practitioner
have seen a fetus born alive after induction
abortion in the second trimester, haven't
you? ... . [Answer:] Yes, I have. ...
Q. And you have observed signs of life in the fetus, didn't you?
A. That is correct.
Q. You have seen spontaneous respiratory activity, right? A.
Q. Heartbeat? A. Yes.
Q. Spontaneous movements? A. Yes.
Q. And you have seen these signs at 24 weeks, right?
A. That is correct.
Q. 23 weeks? A. Yes.
Q. 22 weeks? A. Yes."
Abortion Fed'n v. Ashcroft, 330 F.Supp.2d 436
(S.D.N.Y. 2004), Trial transcript April 1, 2004 at
abortion practitioner James
do have moral compunctions. And if I see a
case that's later, like after 20 weeks where
it frankly is a child to me, I really agonize
over it because the potential is so imminently
there. I think, 'Gee, it's too bad that this
child couldn't be adopted.'"
Medical News, July 5, 1993, at 22
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