On April 18, 2007, the Supreme Court backed the ban on partial birth abortion. Pro-life and anti-abortion activists celebrated the 5-4 decision that bans the controversial procedure while those for abortion protested in anger.
The long awaited win comes years after the 1973 decision that gave women the right to have an abortion. The partial birth abortion ban doesn’t make an abortion illegal, but it does make this particular procedure illegal. The new law does not contain an exception that takes into account the woman’s health.
The partial birth procedure is particularly gruesome because it’s done after the baby is in the second trimester. The baby is removed intact and alive partially from the woman’s uterus and when the child is about half way or so out the woman’s body, the baby is killed by cutting or crushing its skull so that the baby dies.
Pro-life activists argue that this is murder because abortion is taking a human life. This particular procedure is taking a baby that is partially born and killing it outside of the woman’s uterus. Some of these babies could survive because the woman is so far along when this is done.
Pro-choice activists argue that it’s the woman’s body and she should be able to do as she wishes with her body. The anger over the Supreme Court’s decision was flashed over the TV news as protesters marched and chanted in disagreement to the new law.
The main argument is that the partial birth abortion procedure isn’t like other abortions. The baby is partially taken outside of the body of the woman and then killed, rather than inside the woman’s body. Once the baby is outside the body of the woman, pro-life activists say it is no longer in the body of the woman and therefore why kill a baby that could very well survive.
Rep. John Boehner of Ohio said, “I applaud the Court for its ruling today, and my hope is that it sets the stage for further progress in the fight to ensure our nation’s laws respect the sanctity of unborn human life.”
Eve Gartner of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America said,
“This ruling flies in the face of 30 years of Supreme Court precedent and the best interest of women’s health and safety. This ruling tells women that politicians, not doctors, will make their health care decisions for them.”
Pro-choice protesters are angry with the new law, saying it leaves nothing open to safeguard the woman’s health. In saying this, it leaves open one main question…what about the health of the babies? Killing an unborn baby and a baby that is partially born isn’t safeguarding the health of the baby.
With the partial birth abortion law now in effect, doctors and health care providers that are caught performing this procedure can face prison time of up to two years.