Supreme Court Upholds Partial Birth Abortion Ban
The Supreme Court has upheld a federal ban on partial birth abortions.
The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench. The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and
President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.
The opponents of the act “have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. The administration defended the law as drawing a bright line between abortion and infanticide.
The decision pitted the court’s conservatives against its liberals, with President Bush’s two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, siding with the majority. Justices
Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia also were in the majority.
It was the first time the court banned a specific procedure in a case over how — not whether — to perform an abortion.
This strikes me as a commonsensical decision. Paradoxically, however, the ruling will likely politically disadvantageous to conservatives. It simultaneously takes away the lowest hanging fruit in the abortion debate–only the staunchest abortion fans can side with jamming scissors into a baby’s brain as he’s being delivered–and undermines the “activist judges” argument.