Photo: President George W. Bush Jr. singing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
Passed by President George W. Bush Jr., the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban became was passed in Congress and made law in 2003. This law banned all partial-birth abortions, a method of abortion usually used in the second trimester (15-26 weeks).
The method is commonly known as ‘intact dilation and extraction’ or ‘intact D&X’. It is where the head of the fetus is reduced in diameter to allow for easier passage to be removed from the uterus/vagina.
The term ‘partial-birth’ is not recognized in the medical field or American Medical Association; it is usually used politically.
The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban was previously passed through Congress in 1995, and again in 1997, but both instances were vetoed by former Democratic President Bill Clinton.
There were several provisions to the ban since 2003, and they include the following:
- A moral, medical, and ethical consensus exists that the practice of performing partial-birth abortion…is a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited.
- Rather than being an abortion procedure that is embraced by the medical community, particularly among physicians who routinely perform other abortion procedures, partial-birth abortion remains a disfavored procedure that is not only unnecessary to preserve the health of the mother, but in fact poses serious risks to the long-term health of women and in some circumstances, their lives. As a result, at least 27 States banned the procedure as did the United States Congress which voted to ban the procedure during the 104th, 105th, and 106th Congresses.
In 2007 the law was challenged in the Supreme Court in the case of Gonzales v. Carhart and was upheld. President George Bush Jr. sent out an official statement in response to the Court ruling. In the statement he commented on the “compassion and humanity of America” saying that, “Today’s decision affirms that the Constitution does not stand in the way of the people’s representatives enacting laws reflecting the compassion and humanity of America. The partial-birth abortion ban, which an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress passed and I signed into law, represents a commitment to building a culture of life in America.” (Bush)
Shortly after the law passed, the majority of public opinion of Americans seemed to have agreed with the decision. A Rasmussen Reports poll 4 days after the court’s decision found that 40% of respondents “knew the ruling allowed states to place some restrictions on specific abortion procedures.” Of those who knew of the decision, 56% agreed with the decision and 32% were opposed. (Rasmussen Reports)
However, in 2004, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban was declared unconstitutional in the U.S. Courts of California, Nebraska, and New York.
- Gaynor, Michael. “Partial Birth Abortion Cases: Dignity, Up; Barbarity, down.” Partial Birth Abortion Cases: Dignity, Up; Barbarity, down. Renew America, 20 Apr. 2007. Web. 03 Dec. 2014. <http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/gaynor/070420>.
- “Most Who Know of Decision Agree With Supreme Court on Partial Birth Abortion.” Partial Birth Abortion. Rasmussen Reports, 22 Apr. 2007. Web. 03 Dec. 2014. <http://legacy.rasmussenreports.com/2007/April%20Dailies/partialBirthAbortion.htm>.
- Weitz, Tracy A. “Catholics for Choice.” Catholics for Choice RSS. Catholics for Choice, 1 Nov. 2012. Web. 03 Dec. 2014. <http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/conscience/current/lessonsfortheprochoicemovement.asp>.