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The Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the 2003 law that banned partial birth abortion marks a historic shift in the court’s views. It is the first ban ever on a specific abortion procedure.
Partial birth abortion was an abhorrent procedure used in late-term abortions: those that take place in the 20th week of pregnancy and beyond. A child born at that stage of gestation would likely be born alive. Critical organs such as lungs and kidneys would have developed enough to function on their own.
If doctors were to deliver such a child and kill her, they would be charged with infanticide. As a loophole, a grisly procedure was developed to avoid infanticide charges. In that procedure, officially known as “Intact dilation and extraction” the child is partially delivered feet-first up to the neck. Then, only inches from birth, a hole is made in the child’s skull and her brains are sucked out. Thus, by the time the delivery is complete, the baby is dead and criminal liability is avoided.
However, as gruesome and inhumane as the procedure is, it is just but one of the ways in which abortions are performed every day. The ruling describes other procedures that obtain the same result which remain legal under Roe v. Wade. The reading of the full text of the ruling is chilling. It says that the procedure called "dilation and evacuation" is still legal. That procedure entails cutting up the child inside the womb and removing the parts.
Awareness of the barbaric details of partial birth abortion undoubtedly played an important role in providing the public support that led to the enactment of the 2003 law which was just upheld. In the days and weeks to come you will likely hear harsh reaction against this ruling from pro-abortion advocates. Why? Because they know, just as happened here, if the public comes to understand the true reality of all forms of abortion Roe v. Wade has little chance of standing.
The April 18 Supreme Court ruling was not an overwhelming victory but the first chink in the armor. To win, we must keep up the fight.