A Nebraska federal court’s decision yesterday that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is unconstitutional shows that the courts will not protect children from partial-birth abortions as long as there are abortion doctors who favor the procedure, said a spokesperson of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Federal Judge Richard Kopf ruled that partial-birth abortion must be available to abortion doctors under the Constitution.
"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," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., spokesperson for the USCCB’s Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. "Judge Kopf's ruling shows this ‘abortionist's veto’ in action," she said.
Judge Kopf said his ruling was "guided …by the principles laid down by the Supreme Court" in Stenberg v. Carhart (2000), a case which originated in his court.
Under the heading "Mechanics," Judge Kopf described testimony from doctors about how they kill children, who are three-fifths formed, in a partial-birth abortion. Dr. William Fitzhugh said he "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." Dr. William Knorr testified that he uses a finger or scissors 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."
This ruling – like the previous two rulings against the Act from federal judges in California and New York – is expected to be appealed.