Federal Court Overturns Virginia Late Term Abortion Ban

A federal appeals court yesterday overturned Virginia’s ban on late term abortions for the second time. The Partial Birth Infanticide Act of 2003 was declared unconstitutional because it is more restrictive that the federal ban on late term abortion, reports the Washington Post.

The ban would have allowed abortion providers to be prosecuted under the law. The New York Times reports that Judge M. Blane Michael wrote in the majority opinion, “Unlike the Federal act, the Virginia act subjects all doctors who perform [the more common procedure] to potential criminal liability, thereby imposing an unconstitutional burden on a woman’s right to choose.”

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a press release, “Federal courts are seeing through these thinly veiled attempts to undermine a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion. Lower courts are providing a crucial backstop against anti-choice forces using the Supreme Court’s recent ruling to ride roughshod over women’s health.”


Reuters 05/20/08; The New York Times 05/21/08; The Washington Post 05/21/08; Center for Reproductive Rights 05/20/08; Center for Reproductive Rights Cases

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