Ruling Against Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Seen as "Callous"

U.S. Bishops’ Aide Assails Decision

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WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 8, 2004 ( A bishops’ aide assailed a federal judge’s decision that found the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act unconstitutional because some abortion doctors claim the procedure provides health benefits for women.

«In a callous opinion, peppered with the gruesome details of the killing of children three-fifths born, Federal Judge Richard Kopf ruled that partial-birth abortion must be available to abortion doctors under the Constitution,» said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.

Under the heading «Mechanics,» the Nebraska-based district court judge described testimony from doctors about how they kill children in a partial-birth abortion.

Dr. William Fitzhugh, for example, «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.»

Another witness, Dr. William Knorr, uses «a finger» or «scissor» 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.

Judge Kopf said his ruling is «guided … by the principles laid down by the Supreme Court» in Stenberg v. Carhart, a 2000 case which originated in his court.

The bishops’ aide, Ruse, said: «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,» Ruse said. «Judge Kopf’s ruling shows this ‘abortionist’s veto’ in action.»

«The Supreme Court should be untainted by abortion ideology and respectful of the right to life of every human being without exception,» said Ruse.

This ruling, like two previous rulings against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act from federal judges in California and New York, will likely be appealed.

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