WASHINGTON (September 8, 2004) — A federal district court judge in Nebraska ruled today that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is unconstitutional because some abortion doctors claim the procedure provides health benefits for women. This ruling, like the previous two rulings against the Act from federal judges in California and New York, will likely be appealed.
"In a callous opinion, peppered with the gruesome details of the killing of children three-fifths born, Federal Judge Richard Kopf ruled that partial-birth abortion must be available to abortion doctors under the Constitution," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., spokesperson for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.
Under the heading "Mechanics," Judge Kopf described testimony from doctors about how they kill children in a partial-birth abortion. Dr. William Fitzhugh, for example, "uses forceps to compress the fetal skull in order to reduce its size and to ensure that the fetus is dead when it is removed." Another witness, Dr. William Knorr, uses "a finger" or "scissor" to puncture the baby's head. The opinion includes admissions from abortion doctors that babies are alive during a partial-birth abortion and that the baby's heart can be seen beating before the head is punctured or crushed. The opinion also includes trial testimony that partial-birth abortion is "excruciatingly painful for a fetus."
Judge Kopf said his ruling is "guided …by the principles laid down by the Supreme Court" in Stenberg v. Carhart (2000), a case which originated in his court.
"Four years ago five justices of the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution will allow no legal protection for children from the violence of partial-birth abortion, as long as there are abortion doctors who favor it," Ruse said. "Judge Kopf's ruling shows this 'abortionist's veto' in action."
"Ultimately, we have Roe v. Wade to thank for today's ruling," explained Ruse. "Thirty years ago the Supreme Court took sides in the political debate over abortion, and every abortion decision to follow has conformed to Roe's mandate that the Constitution be effectively blind to the rights of the unborn child."
"The Supreme Court should be untainted by abortion ideology and respectful of the right to life of every human being without exception," said Ruse.