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Bush Administration Takes Right Stand on Ohio Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

For Immediate Release. February 7, 2002This week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, an Ohio ban on a single late-term abortion procedure referred to in the medical literature as intact dilation and extraction (D&X) or in the common vernacular partial-birth abortion was questioned.  The Justice Department filed a “friend of the court” brief, a nonbinding opinion, in support of Ohio’s ban on this procedure.  Both Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Bush Administration should be lauded for the pro-life stance against this heinous method to terminate an unborn child’s life.  Late-term abortions involve leaving only the head inside the uterus after the rest of the baby’s body has been delivered followed by the back of the baby’s skull being punctured with scissors and the child’s brain being removed by suction.

Tragically, the Supreme Court had earlier ruled in Nebraska (Stenberg v. Carhart) that this late-term abortion ban commonly called partial birth abortion was unconstitutional.  There were two reasons for the 5-4 decision on June 28, 2000:  first, it did not include an exception to protect the health of the woman, and second, the language defining the procedure was too broad and could have extended to another method of abortion beyond partial-birth abortion.  Since it did not comply with the 2000 Supreme Court decision, the Ohio ban was stuck down by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.  However, the Ohio partial-birth abortion ban “satisfies both these requirements” by limiting the ban only to partial-birth abortions and providing, “exactly the health exception required by the Supreme Court” according to arguments in the Justice brief.

Pro-choice advocates, lower courts, and the Supreme Court are all wrong when they believe that an intact D&X is the safest abortion procedure with regards to protecting the mother’s health.  For an intact D&X that evaluates or attests to its safety, there exist no credible studies.  In medical textbooks the procedure is not recognized; nor is it taught in medical schools or in obstetrics and gynecology residencies.  In fact, a risk for potential complications associated with any surgical mid-trimester termination that include uterine perforation, infection and hemorrhage is always present for patients who undergo an intact D&X. 

“Partial birth abortion (and all other forms of abortion) has been heavily debated since the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade asked when life begins,” stated Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy.  “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court, when judging that landmark case, decided it could not answer what it called ‘that difficult question.’  Through science, the answer is clear.  A fetus is a living individual.  A human heartbeat is detectable 24 days after conception, and brain waves are detectable within 41 days.  Thus, from this standpoint a baby in the womb deserves Fourteenth Amendment protection.  Furthermore, Constitutional protection is afforded the unborn child because in the Preamble of the Constitution it indicates that this document is to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity which means succeeding or future generations.”

For more information, visit Bush Administration's Stand on Partial-Birth Abortion.

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Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy

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