A federal judge in Florida ruled today that a law banning certain surgical abortion procedures is unconstitutional and unenforceable.
The law “has the unconstitutional purpose and effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion prior to the fetus attaining viability,” said U.S. District Judge Donald Graham in his decision.
Doctors testified before Graham in August declaring that the law, named the “partial-birth abortion ban” by opponents, would in effect make almost all abortions illegal in the state of Florida. The law was so vaguely defined that doctors could be charged with violating it even while performing early, first-term abortions. Out of the 80,000 or so abortions performed in Florida every year, only a small fraction occur after the first two trimesters.
Similar laws have also been struck down in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, and Montana. A temporary restraining order was placed on the implementation of the law on June 30, 1998 the day it was to go into effect.