RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia’s ban on partial-birth abortion is constitutional, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 6-5 decision June 24.
The head of Americans United for Life, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case and assisted the state with the litigation, said the “ban protects not only the unborn, but also the health and welfare of women.”
“We are thrilled that the 4th Circuit followed clear U.S. Supreme Court precedent and upheld Virginia’s ban on partial-birth abortion – which is more accurately called partial-birth infanticide,” said Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO.
“It is a law that the vast majority of Americans are justified in supporting,” she said. Opponents of the ban are expected to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appellate court’s decision.
The 2003 Virginia law makes it a felony to perform a partial-birth abortion, but it never went into effect because its constitutionality was challenged by a Richmond doctor who said the procedure can be necessary to protect the life of the mother. He also said the ban could prevent doctors from performing legal procedures for fear they would be prosecuted.
But writing for the majority, Judge Paul Niemeyer said that the situations in which doctors would face criminal charges are so narrowly drawn that it would not invalidate the law that makes abortions in other circumstances legal.