U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling upholds a law banning what some call “partial birth” abortions.
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UPDATE BY BRENDAN: Oddly, CNN now has nothing about this on its homepage (as of 10:36 AM). But you can read about it on SCOTUSblog. Key excerpt:
The Court said that it was upholding the law as written — that is, its facial language. It said that the lawsuits challenging the law should not have been allowed in court “in the first instance.” The proper way to make a challenge, if an abortion ban is claimed to harm a woman’s right to abortion, is through as as-applied claim, Kennedy wrote. His opinion said that courts could consider such claims “in discrete and well-defined instances” where “a condition has or is likely to occur in which the procedure prohibited by the Act must be used.”
Kennedy said the Court was assuming that the federal ban would be unconstitutional “if it subjected women to significant health risks.” …
[The dissent, however, wrote that] “the Court’s opinion tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. For the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception protecting a woman’s health.” She said the federal ban “and the Court’s defense of it cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court — and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women’s lives. A decision of the character the Court makes today should not have staying power.”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press seems confused about the nature of our government and the respective roles of its three branches, characterizing this decision as “the first time the court banned a specific procedure in a case over howÃ¢â‚¬â€not whetherÃ¢â‚¬â€to perform an abortion.” Um, yeah, okay, the Court didn’t “ban” anything, the Court upheld a ban that was passed by Congress and signed by the president. Big, huge, ginormous difference there. If the Court had “banned” late-term abortions on constitutional grounds, this would be a much, much, much bigger story. Wake up, AP.