USCCB representative urges appeal of California ruling against Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act

A spokesperson for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is encouraging an appeal of the ruling made June 1 by a federal court judge in California, declaring the ban on partial-birth abortions unconstitutional.

The federal judge in the Northern District of California declared the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in violation of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortions in the United States more than 30 years ago. The lawsuit was brought by Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

"Once again a federal judge has declared that Roe v. Wade stands for the right to kill a child in the process of being born," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.

To state that access to partial-birth abortions is a fundamental constitutional right “makes a mockery of the Constitution,” said Ruse. "We encourage and anticipate an appeal of this ruling.”

Ruse pointed out that trial testimony from abortion doctors included clear descriptions of how a baby’s life is ended during partial-birth abortions, which take place in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy.

Dr. Maureen Paul of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate testified that there are two options when the baby’s head lodges in the cervix during the procedure. “You can disarticulate at the neck, or what I prefer to do is to just reach in with my forceps and collapse the skull and bring the fetus out intact,” she said.

Further testimony revealed the child's heart is still beating before forceps are used to crush the skull.

Pain specialist Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand also testified that the fetus endures “severe and excruciating pain" during the procedure.

"The American Medical Association says this procedure is never medically necessary," Ruse added.

Challenges against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act are also pending in federal courts in New York and Nebraska.

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