Supreme 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
this time.
#22 Warren Hern, M.D., late-term abortion specialist and author of the widely used textbook Abortion Practice, has stated:

"I have very serious reservations about this [partial-birth abortion] procedure. You can’t really defend it. … I would dispute any statement that this is the safest procedure to use." (Quoted in American Medical News, Nov. 20, 1995.)

#21 Trial testimony of Curtis Cook, M.D., specialist in high-risk obstetrics, in federal partial-birth abortion case now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court:

"[Question]: When a pregnancy has to be ended prematurely, because of a maternal health condition of the kind that you treat, is it ever necessary to take a destructive act against the fetus directly, in order to protect the health interests of the mother?

"[Answer]: No, all that is required for recovery of the mother is for separation of the fetus and placenta from her system so that she can start the recovery process. There is nothing inherent in the destruction of the fetus that starts to facilitate that process." (Carhart v. Ashcroft, 331 F.Supp.2d 805 (D. Neb. 2004), Trial Transcript, April 7, 2004, at 1306.)

#20 Federal appellate judge John M. Walker, Jr., on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in Stenberg v. Carhart striking down a state ban on partial-birth abortion:

"The Stenberg Court’s holding is flawed in at least three respects: (1) it equates the denial of a potential health benefit (in the eyes of some doctors) with the imposition of a health risk and … promotes marginal safety above all other values …; (2) it endorses a rule that permits the lower courts to hold a statute facially invalid upon a speculative showing of harm, even if, in the vast majority of cases, the statute’s application would not lead to an unconstitutional result; and (3) it establishes an evidentiary standard that all but removes the legislature from the field of abortion policy." Concurring opinion, National Abortion Federation v. Gonzales, 437 F.3d 278, 291 (2d Cir. 2006).


Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, dissenting from the 5-4 opinion in Stenberg v. Carhart that struck down a state ban on partial-birth abortion:

"Requiring Nebraska to defer to Dr. Carhart's judgment is no different from forbidding Nebraska from enacting a ban at all; for it is now Dr. Leroy Carhart who sets abortion policy for the State of Nebraska, not the legislature or the people. [Planned Parenthood v.] Casey does not give precedence to the views of a single physician or a group of physicians regarding the relative safety of a particular procedure." 530 U.S. 914, 965 (2000).

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