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Supreme Court upholds ban on partial birth abortion in 5-4 vote

April 26th, 2007

The Supreme Court last week ruled that the nationwide ban on a specific partial birth abortion procedure was to be upheld.

The 5-4 decision said that it is constitutional to deny a woman access to this particular method of abortion. Politicians on both sides were quick to react.

According to the Associated Press, the procedure in question involved removing the whole fetus from a woman’s uterus and completing the abortion outside of the womb.
According to the AP, in 2003 President Bush and Congress passed the Partial Birth Abortion Act which said this procedure is “gruesome, inhumane and never medically necessary to preserve a woman’s health.”

However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists believe otherwise.

According to the ACOG, the ruling will continue to ban procedures that have well known safety advantages to women. They have found that it is a procedure that is “necessary and proper in certain cases.”
Junior Sarah Stroney, who agrees with the ACOG, believes that “the government is overstepping its role by superseding the judgment of a leading group of medical experts.”

While abortion rights groups are saying that this ruling could prevent many women from having an abortion after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, government officials have said that there are other methods of partial birth abortion which are still legal and available.

The alternate method involves the dismembering of the fetus from within the uterus. Partial birth abortions only account for 10 percent of the 1 million abortions done per year in the United States.

Opponents of abortion feel that even upholding the ban will not reduce the number of procedures performed in a year, because the other methods are still readily available.

This ruling bans a certain method of abortion rather than putting a time limit on when an abortion can be performed. It will most likely cause many state level efforts to restrict abortions in general, according to the AP.