Today the Supreme Court affirmed the Federal ban on partial birth abortions.
The 5-4 decision marks the first time the court has upheld a ban on an abortion procedure. A similar ban was struck down seven years ago, but the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and President Bush’s choice of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. tipped the balance in favor of the ban on “partial-birth abortions.”
Foes of abortion, such as the ACLJ quickly hailed the decision.
This is a monumental victory for the preservation of human life. By rejecting the lawsuits challenging the national ban, the high court demonstrated that this horrible practice has no place in the medical community. We’re delighted and encouraged that a majority of the Justices of the high court determined that it was time to bring an end to what only can be described as infanticide. This decision represents an important shift in the ongoing battle to protect human life and represents a very significant pro-life victory in the abortion debate.
President Bush also chipped in a few comments:
President Bush, in a statement issued by the White House, welcomed the decision. “The Supreme Court’s decision is an affirmation of the progress we have made over the past six years in protecting human dignity and upholding the sanctity of life,” he said. “Today’s decision affirms that the Constitution does not stand in the way of the people’s representatives enacting laws reflecting the compassion and humanity of America.”
However, opponents of the affirmed ban on partial birth abortions were equally quick to speak out.
Sen. Feinstein (D-CA)said she was “truly shocked” by the decision, which she called “a major strike against a woman’s right to choose … (that) will put women’s lives in jeopardy.”
However, a look at the numbers may show that the choruses of “Hallelujah” and emotive wailing at the striking down of a Constitutional Right are a bit premature. Every year in the United States approximately 1.3 million abortions are performed, but between 3,000 to 5,000 use the D and X method common in partial birth abortions. While both sides may clamor about the seriousness of this ruling, the limited scope, and the narrowness of the 5-4 ruling make this decision notable, but not titanic. However, all eyes today shouldn’t be on Justice Alito, who voted in favor of affirming the ban (talk about use of awkward language), but really should be upon Justice Stevens, who at 87 years is long due for retirement, but is holding on until a more liberal Administration comes into D.C. His likely replacement in the next election cycle, though he could hold on for as long as he holds breath, may be crucial in determining the fate of Roe v Wade, and this decision will likely increase the attention on candidates views towards abortion and towards judicial preferences in the primaries and general election.