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Top Court to Hear Major Abortion Test Cases

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By james vicini
sat nov 4, 8:41 am et



washington (reuters) - the first nationwide ban on a specific abortion procedure faces u.S. Supreme court scrutiny next week in cases testing whether president george w. Bush's two new conservative appointees will restrict abortion rights.

Returning to one of the nation's most divisive, emotional and politically charged issues, the high court considers the constitutionality of the partial-birth abortion ban act the republican-led u.S. Congress approved and bush signed into law in 2003.


The arguments on wednesday in two cases widely viewed as the most important of the court's 2006-07 term occur the day after voters go to the polls nationwide to decide whether republicans keep control of congress. South dakota voters will cast ballots to decide whether a law banning almost all abortions should be repealed.


The supreme court will not be revisiting its landmark roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 that women have a basic constitutional right to abortion, but will be reviewing whether a particular surgical abortion method can be outlawed.


The law makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion during which a part of the fetus, either the "entire fetal head" or "any part of the fetal trunk past the navel," is outside the woman's uterus.


The law's supporters say the procedure, known by doctors as intact dilation and extraction, is mainly used for late-term abortions, but opponents say it bans some abortions in the second trimester of pregnancy.


At issue is whether the law is unconstitutional because it fails to provide an exception for abortions to protect the health of a pregnant woman, whether it imposes an undue burden on a woman's right to seek an abortion and whether it is too vague.


Adopted by congress after nine years of hearings and debate, the law has never been enforced because of court challenges. The six lower federal courts that reviewed the law all declared it unconstitutional.


The cases represent the first significant test of whether abortion rights will be restricted because of the retirement of moderate justice sandra day o'connor, who provided the decisive vote on the divided court for such rights.


Bush replaced her with the more conservative justice samuel alito. He also appointed another conservative, chief justice john roberts. Roberts and alito as u.S. Justice department lawyers in the 1980s and early 1990s opposed the 1973 abortion ruling.


Women's health

the challenge to the law will be argued by priscilla smith of the new york-based center for reproductive rights and by eve gartner of planned parenthood federation of america.


"this case is about whether the roberts court will follow settled law and protect women's health from harmful restrictions. If they don't, women's health is at risk," smith said.


"the government is arguing that politicians, not doctors and their patients, should have the final say in private medical decisions," gartner said. "lawmakers should stop playing politics with women's health and lives."

solicitor general paul clement of the justice department, the bush administration's top courtroom lawyer, will defend the law.


The act "advances vital state interests in protecting human life and preventing a rarely used and gruesome late-term abortion procedure that resembles infanticide," he said in written arguments to the court.


The key vote in the case could belong to justice anthony kennedy. The supreme court in 2000 struck down a similar nebraska law by a 5-4 vote, with kennedy dissenting.


A big question during the arguments will be whether the moderate conservative kennedy, who has replaced o'connor as the key swing vote on the nine-member court, changes his mind in considering the federal law.


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replied November 5th, 2006
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What I don't understand about partial birth abortion is why is the baby not given an injection to make it die before it is removed? I know this can be done because I know a lady who had an abortion at 26 weeks and this was what happened to her.

If indeed, the baby is killed by injection first in these procedures then why the big outrage over pba? That seems more humane to me than ripping a baby apart with a sharp instrument, which is what happens in earlier abortions.

From reading an earlier thread about pba, it seems that the procedure is usually only done on babies who are brain dead anyway so would not feel pain, is that correct?

If this procedure is ever done on a healthy, live baby then that is an outrage and the doctor should be prosecuted.
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replied November 5th, 2006
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purestgreen wrote:
if this procedure is ever done on a healthy, live baby then that is an outrage and the doctor should be prosecuted.


but what if the procedure is done on a very sick woman?

While I am horrified by so called "partial birth abortion" (a term coined by a politician) I also do not feel I am in a position to determine if the child's life is of more value than the mother's life. That is why I oppose this bill-it leaves no provision for the health of the woman. And if pro-life campers really cared about women, they would be in an outrage over this as well.

"the government is arguing that politicians, not doctors and their patients, should have the final say in private medical decisions"
yes indeed, and it makes me nauseous.
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replied November 5th, 2006
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birch wrote:
purestgreen wrote:
if this procedure is ever done on a healthy, live baby then that is an outrage and the doctor should be prosecuted.


but what if the procedure is done on a very sick woman?

While I am horrified by so called "partial birth abortion" (a term coined by a politician) I also do not feel I am in a position to determine if the child's life is of more value than the mother's life. That is why I oppose this bill-it leaves no provision for the health of the woman. And if pro-life campers really cared about women, they would be in an outrage over this as well.


"the government is arguing that politicians, not doctors and their patients, should have the final say in private medical decisions"
yes indeed, and it makes me nauseous.



bush shouldnt even have the right, bush doent even have a highschool diploma and you trust someone like that im somewhat happy I live in canada!
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replied November 5th, 2006
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birch wrote:
purestgreen wrote:
if this procedure is ever done on a healthy, live baby then that is an outrage and the doctor should be prosecuted.


but what if the procedure is done on a very sick woman?


then the baby should be delivered by emergency c-section.
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replied November 5th, 2006
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purestgreen wrote:
birch wrote:
purestgreen wrote:
if this procedure is ever done on a healthy, live baby then that is an outrage and the doctor should be prosecuted.


but what if the procedure is done on a very sick woman?


then the baby should be delivered by emergency c-section.


that can actually make a woman more sick and can result in infection as well as a longer recuperation than a vaginal birth!

Plus you are going to suffer more pain with a c-section than with a vag birth, healing for c-section reoughly six weeks, vag brith 7-10 days! And thats a for a fullterm baby. Now if the baby is 14 weeks for ect healing could be less than a week but still 6 weeks for a c-section!
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replied November 5th, 2006
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diamondsz wrote:
now if the baby is 14 weeks for ect healing could be less than a week but still 6 weeks for a c-section!


sorry, i'm having a blonde moment - what's ect?
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replied November 5th, 2006
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In all of the pba's that I have known of or assisted with the fetus was given the injection that euthenized the fetus.
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replied November 5th, 2006
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sandyallen wrote:
in all of the pba's that I have known of or assisted with the fetus was given the injection that euthenized the fetus.


for me, that is the important point. If the baby absolutely can not be saved then at least give it the dignity to die as peacefully as possible. I'm pretty certain most mothers would rather that their child be allowed to pass away peacefully inside of them rather than be half born and stabbed in the head.
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replied November 5th, 2006
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A pba is not and should not be done on a healthy fetus, tests are run 1st and there needs to be a medical reason. Pba is not like your regular abortions.
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replied November 5th, 2006
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So, sandyallen, you have assisted in pbas? How did you find that? It must have been tough.
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replied November 5th, 2006
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Their were a lot of procedure's that were not easy! A lot of my jobs were not easy but a lot of them were rewarding! When I worked a a social service worker and with investigations and my nursing. Any job has it's pluses and any job has it's minuses. I used to love working labor & delivery and you knew what the mom's were going through as I had two kids naturally but watching the fathers was the fun part at times. I used to really dislike these abused kids coming in and these druggies coming in for their free fix and we would tell them to get some tylenol if they were not allergic to it. Yes I do miss not being able to work anymore but some of the things I do not miss.
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replied November 5th, 2006
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sandyallen wrote:
yes I do miss not being able to work anymore but some of the things I do not miss.


.I think you have to be a very strong person to do those kind of jobs. They can be pretty thankless at times! I'm sorry you can't work any more though, that's tough Sad
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replied November 5th, 2006
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purestgreen wrote:
sandyallen wrote:
yes I do miss not being able to work anymore but some of the things I do not miss.


.I think you have to be a very strong person to do those kind of jobs. They can be pretty thankless at times! I'm sorry you can't work any more though, that's tough Sad


it is tough!! Sandy I completly agree a fetus that late on should be put to sleep before being pulled out, I think it is wrong to give something up after 4 months I think it should just be kept and put up for adoption but in the end I have to allow choice.

I would rather see a child pass then be abused its whole life and possibly neglected!
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replied November 6th, 2006
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I agree!
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replied November 6th, 2006
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Re: Top Court to Hear Major Abortion Test Cases
paganangel wrote:


the law makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion during which a part of the fetus, either the "entire fetal head" or "any part of the fetal trunk past the navel," is outside the woman's uterus.
I don't know who wrote this article or what kind of 'fact checking' they have in place but this is false. The actual language of the federal abortion ban was far more vague and could, if interpreted critically, ban even the most common abortion procedures performed.

Quote:
the act "advances vital state interests in protecting human life and preventing a rarely used and gruesome late-term abortion procedure that resembles infanticide," he said in written arguments to the court.
except that in these cases there is no infant because the pregnancy has gone terribly wrong or because of fetal defect. It's so strange that these people would neglect to mention why this particular procedure is used and in what condition the fetus is typically in.
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replied November 6th, 2006
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Yes jenn, once that I re-read the article I agree with you. I really mis-read it wrong the 1st time!
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