In a surprising move, on Friday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit recalled for reconsideration the cases challenging Illinois’ and Wisconsin’s “partial birth abortion” statutes. The recall order means the statutes that ban a rare procedure that abortion opponents call “partial birth” will not go into effect yet.
The full 7th Circuit heard the Illinois case and the Wisconsin case together. In October, the Court ruled that the Illinois and Wisconsin laws banning late-term abortion are constitutional, but the court suspended enforcement of the laws until lower courts can determine whether enforcing the laws would restrict other abortion procedures that are protected by previous Supreme Court decisions. The decision was split 5-4, with Judge Easterbrook writing for the majority and Chief Judge Posner writing for the dissent.