Appeal on U.S. Abortion Rulings Is Lauded

Meanwhile, Panel Focuses on Women’s Suffering

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WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 30, 2004 ( A bishops’ aide hailed the U.S. Justice Department’s appeal this week of federal-court rulings against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

“We commend the U.S. Department of Justice for its vigorous defense of the ban on partial-birth abortion,” said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, spokeswoman for the bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. “There is no place in a civilized society for this cruel and inhumane practice.”

Judge Richard Kopf in Nebraska ruled against the act earlier this month in a lengthy opinion citing testimony that babies are alive during a partial-birth abortion, that the baby’s heart can be seen beating before the head is punctured or crushed, and that partial-birth abortion is “excruciatingly painful for a fetus.”

Judge Richard Casey in the Southern District of New York called partial-birth abortion “a gruesome, brutal, barbaric, and uncivilized medical procedure” but ruled against the act under his reading of prior Supreme Court cases stemming from Roe v. Wade — in particular, the case of Stenberg v. Carhart.

Ruse said: “No matter how the legal questions are finally resolved, these trials will have accomplished something extremely significant: they will have gotten the abortion industry on the record, under oath, admitting the horrifying truth about abortion.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health conducted a hearing Wednesday on “Improving Women’s Health: Understanding Depression After Pregnancy.”

The hearing, chaired by Representative Michael Bilirakis of Florida, included testimony from a woman who suffered profoundly after an abortion and a medical doctor who has researched the physical and psychological health complications from induced abortion.

“After 31 years, abortion continues to be an unchecked and unstudied experiment on women,” said Ruse, the bishops’ spokeswoman. “We are grateful to Chairman Bilirakis for shedding light on the reality of women’s experience with abortion.”

Michaelene Fredenburg, a passionate defender of women’s rights, testified that her abortion at 18 left her feeling “violated and betrayed,” and that she was not prepared for the “emotional fallout” that ensued. She explained to the subcommittee that her thoughts of suicide finally led her to seek help.

Dr. Elizabeth Shadigian, a professor of obstetrics at the University of Michigan, also testified. Shadigian has conducted research which shows that induced abortion is associated with an increased risk of suicide, preterm birth, placenta previa and breast cancer.

“Public policy decisions should be based on facts and the truth,” said Ruse. “We cannot continue as a culture to turn a blind eye to the impact of abortion on women. Women deserve better than this.”

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