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November 6, 2003


Official Documents: Partial Birth Abortions

Here's the bill as signed into law, Nebraska's injunction, and New York's injunction. [all PDFs]

The opening paragraph of the law is surprisingly graphic, though the language is so vivid it almost sounds propagandistic:

A moral, medical, and ethical consensus exists that the practice of performing a partial-birth abortion -- an abortion in which a physician delivers an unborn childē—“ body until only the head remains inside the womb, punctures the back of the child's skull with a Sharp instrument, and sucks the child's brains out before completing delivery of the dead infant -- is a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited.
To bolster its case that Congress can do its own fact-finding (as opposed to relying on the Supreme Court), the law also quotes a 1962 case involving Puerto Rican communties' voting rights and two cases involving Ted Turner's cable empire. Also, the law provides restitution for the father of the aborted fetus in the event that a mother undergoes the procedure:
The father, if married to the mother at the time she receives a partial-birth abortion procedure, and if the mother has not attained the age of 18 years at the time of the abortion, the maternal grandparents of the fetus, may in a civil action obtain appropriate relief, unless the pregnancy resulted from the plaintiff's criminal conduct or the plaintiff consented to the abortion.
The "relief" includes "statutory damages equal to three times
the cost of the partial-birth abortion." And the woman herself, of course, can be prosecuted for violating the law. Nonetheless, the law ends with this conclusion:
it is the sense of the Senate that (1) the decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113 (1973)) was appropriate and secures an important constitutional right; and (2) such decision should not be overturned.
Anyway, here's an informative Q&A about the procedure from the BBC.

categories: Politics
posted by adm at 11:51 PM | #


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