Almost two years ago, the Bush’s federal law on partial birth abortion was declared unconstitutional. We learn today that, the newly-staffed SCOTUS will reconsider the case:
The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will consider the constitutionality of banning a type of late-term abortion, teeing up a contentious issue for a newly-constituted court already in a state of flux over privacy rights.
The Bush administration has pressed the high court to reinstate the federal law, passed in 2003 but never put in effect because it was struck down by judges in California, Nebraska and New York.
The outcome will likely rest with the two men that President Bush has recently installed on the court. Justices had been split 5-4 in 2000 in striking down a state law, barring what critics call partial birth abortion because it lacked an exception to protect the health of the mother. . . .
The federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act prohibits a certain type of abortion, generally carried out in the second or third trimester, in which a fetus is partially removed from the womb, and the skull is punctured or crushed.
Justices on a 9-0 vote in a New Hampshire case reaffirmed in January that states can require parental involvement in abortion decisions and that state restrictions must have an exception to protect the mother’s health.
The federal law in the current case has no health exception, but defenders maintain that the procedure is never medically necessary to protect a woman’s health.
Even with O’Connor’s retirement, there are five votes to uphold Roe, the landmark ruling that established a woman’s right to an abortion. . . .
Bush has called the so-called partial birth abortion an “abhorrent practice,” and his Supreme Court lawyer, Solicitor General Paul Clement, had urged justices not to delay taking up the administration’s appeal.
The case that will be heard this fall comes to the Supreme Court from Nebraska, where the federal law was challenged on behalf of physicians. Doctors who perform the procedure contend that it is the safest method of abortion when the mother’s health is threatened by heart disease, high blood pressure or cancer.