The appeal to be heard may overturn a ruling by the 8th Circuit court of appeals that invalidated a 2003 law banning partial-birth abortions, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush.
The Supreme Court had already agreed to hear an appeal to a similar ruling passed down by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The rulings under review represent two of three cases brought forward by the abortion industry immediately after the 2003 law was passed.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life law firm, told LifeNews yesterday, "The Supreme Court took a significant step today that clearly puts the issue of partial-birth abortion front-and-center."
"By taking a second case involving the constitutionality of the national ban on partial-birth abortion, the Supreme Court puts the spotlight on one of the most horrific medical procedures in existence today," he added.
Although the Supreme Court overturned a ban on partial-birth abortion passed by the State of Nebraska in 2000, many think that recent personnel changes may effect the way the Court will rule this time. The majority opinion for the 2000 case, which was decided by a 5-4 ruling, was written by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. O’Connor has since been replaced by Justice Samuel Alito, who many think will decide in favor of legislation banning the procedure.
Recent testimony of doctors may also have an effect on the ruling. The 2000 Nebraska law was ruled unconstitutional because it failed to include a provision allowing for abortion in the case that the mother’s life was endangered. According to LifeNews, doctors have since testified that the three-day long abortion procedure is never necessary to save the life or health of the mother and could cause a host of medical complications for her.
Partial-birth abortion, or what pro-abortion doctors prefer to call an “intact dilation and extraction,” involves a abortion practitioner partially birthing the baby from the mother's womb and inserting surgical scissors into the base of the baby's skull to kill her. The baby is then pulled from the womb of the mother and discarded.
LifeNews estimates the annual number of partial-birth abortions occurring in the U.S. to be between 5,000-10,000. The abortions primarily occur during the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy on health mothers and health babies. Most polls show that somewhere near two-thirds of Americans feel partial-birth abortion should be illegal in almost all cases
Yesterday the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of a second partial-birth abortion case and the outcome could mean an end to the procedure.