The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an amicus brief with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals this week, asking the Court to reverse a District Court decision overturning an Ohio law banning late term abortions. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Stenberg v. Carhart, ruled that a late-term abortion ban, which did not provide exceptions to protect the health and safety of the pregnant woman, was unconstitutional. The DOJ, however, contends that the Ohio ban is constitutional because it “provides exactly the health exception required by the Supreme Court.” U.S. District Judge Walter Rice had previously found the law unconstitutional citing that it outlawed an abortion procedure “when it [the D&X, or the dilation and extraction method of abortion] is simply safer than alternative methods of abortion, and that is what [Stenberg] requires.”
According to Janet Crepps with the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, “President Bush is making clear that he is willing to sacrifice the health of American women to further his priority goal of eliminating the right to choose abortion.” USA Today reports that the DOJ indicated that it filed the brief because of the President’s support of a federal late-term abortion procedure ban. During the Clinton Administration, Congress passed restrictive measures on the issue twice, but the President vetoed both attempts. Bush, however, has suggested that he would support such an initiative.