Monday, June 19, 2006

Supreme Court set to hear 2 Challenges to the Federal Partial Birth Abortion Act this October

Court watchers were galvanized by the news this afternoon that the Supreme Court would expand its review of the first nationwide ban on abortion, the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. The law, though passed by Congress and signed by President Bush, has not ever taken effect yet, due to the court challenges to its constitutionality.

The justices had in February agreed to rule on a Nebraska case on whether the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 is unconstitutional because it lacks an exception to protect the health of a pregnant woman.

The California case involved additional issues on whether the law imposed an undue burden on a woman's right to seek an abortion and whether it is unconstitutionally vague. A U.S. appeals court declared the law unconstitutional and upheld an injunction barring its enforcement.

Both cases will be decided in the upcoming term that begins in October. The law represents the first nationwide ban on an abortion procedure since the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe V. Wade ruling that women have a constitutional right to abortion.

The two decisions will tell the nation a good deal about the Court's newest appointees' attitudes toward abortion rights.

See NARAL Pro-Choice America, link
Has an article on the organization's concerns over the Court's decision to take these two cases. They include the styles of the cases and which federal circuits they were decided in before being taken up to the high court:

Three federal courts held trials to consider the constitutionality of the Federal Abortion Ban; each declared the ban unconstitutional and permanently enjoined the government from enforcing it. The Bush administration appealed all three cases to their respective U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. In July, the Eighth Circuit upheld the decision issued by the district court in Nebraska; then in February, the Second Circuit and the Ninth Circuit upheld the decisions of their respective district courts. The U. S. Supreme Court has already agreed to review President Bush's appeal of the Eighth Circuit decision, Carhart v. Gonzales; this ninth circuit case of Planned Parenthood v. Gonzales will be joined with the Carhart case.

American Center for Law and Justice link
A right-wing Christian organization opposed to abortion. Includes a helpful link to their amicus brief Brief Link I had trouble loading it, but we can hope this link will work in future. A second news link on the site specifies that this brief isin the Gonzales v. Carhart case from Nebraska, docket number 05-380.

Gonzales v. Carhart decision from the 8th circuit Court of Appeals, with cite link, courtesy of:

Center for Reproductive Rights link. Includes links for lots of the testimony in Carhart, briefing papers, timeline of the challenges to the Act and links to related cases. Also links for French and Spanish language versions. Helpful research site.

SaveRoe, a website of the Planned Parenthood organization link. A news link website. See also, Planned Parenthood press link. Just now, their website is not current enough to explain anything since 2005. They seem to be in the midst of a website redesign. Here is a link for their "Factsheet" in the case link, and has a link to the 9th Circuit decision Decision Link. And a link for their newer media/press release site link.

A group website,, link ACLU, Planned Parenthood, National Abortion Federation, and Center for Reproductive Rights. An excellent site with lots of research material. Information on the various groups that are litigating, a legislative history of the Act, among other helpful things.

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