WASHINGTON (August 26, 2004) -– A federal judge in the Southern District of New York found August 26 that partial-birth abortion "is a gruesome, brutal, barbaric, and uncivilized medical procedure," but said that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act must be struck down under the dictates of Roe v. Wade.
"Today Roe v. Wade once again made the unthinkable constitutional," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., spokesperson for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. "Because of Roe, killing a child in the process of being born is called a constitutional right rather than an act of barbarism."
New York Judge Richard Conway Casey ruled against the Act because it did not include a health exception as required by Roe. The government argued that the abortion method was never medically necessary, a conclusion shared by the American Medical Association.
"The crucial question of medical necessity was never answered in this trial," said Ruse. "At every turn where medical records were sought, the medical institutions refused to produce them. In essence, the abortion doctors said 'just trust us,' and no hard evidence was considered," Ruse said. "The 'health exception' is a farce," said Ruse. "As created by the Supreme Court in Doe v. Bolton, the health exception is 'all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age.' It's the quintessential exception that swallows the rule – so broad that you could drive a truck, or a fully-formed unborn baby, right through it."
The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the National Abortion Federation and several individual abortion doctors. Earlier this month the Department of Justice appealed an adverse ruling in a similar case in California; a third case is still pending in a Nebraska federal court.
As partial-birth abortion was debated on the national stage over the last several years, many people refused to believe it existed. But testimony from the ACLU's team of abortion doctors about their methods for killing children in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy revealed partial-birth abortion to be every bit as real and as horrible as the pro-life community claimed. Full transcripts of the trial are available at www.usccb.org/prolife.
Stephen Chasen, MD, an ACLU witness, testified that he didn't know whether partial-birth abortion hurts the baby. When Judge Casey asked him if he had "any care or concern for the fetus whose head you were crushing," Chasen answered, "No." A fetal neurobiology expert testified that such abortions would cause "severe and excruciating pain" to the child.
"Partial-birth abortion promises nothing but pain, for everyone involved," said Ruse. "We applaud the Justice Department for its vigorous defense of the Act, and encourage an appeal of this ruling," she said.