The Supreme Court decided yesterday to hear a second case on the so-called Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 in the upcoming term. The newest case to be added to the docket will determine whether the law places an unnecessary burden on women seeking an abortion because it lacks a crucial health exception. It will also determine if the law is too vague to be constitutional.
The Court agreed in February to hear a separate case on whether the law is unconstitutional because it lacks a health exception. The federal abortion procedure ban has never been enforced because of frequent court challenges to its constitutionality.
A similar Nebraska state law was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court with a 5-4 vote in 2000, with Sandra Day O’Connor in the slim majority. Samuel Alito, who has replaced O’Connor on the Supreme Court, has said that the Constitution does not protect a woman’s right to an abortion.