Judge Rules Against Partial Birth Abortion Ban in Missouri

( [email protected] ) Jul 13, 2004 09:22 PM EDT

On Friday, July 9, a federal judge struck down the 5-year old Missouri’s Infant Protection Act that prohibited partial birth abortion in the state.

Senior U.S. District Judge Scott Wright ruled in his decision that the 1999 Act fails to provide an exception for the mother’s health, and hence should be nullified.

The Missouri Infant’s Protection Act, which was enacted after the General Assembly overrode a veto by the state’s then-governor Mel Carnahan, declared performances of partial birth abortions a felony.

Partial birth abortion, a procedure also known as “intact dilation and extraction” generally is performed during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. During the procedure, the baby is removed from the womb – feet first – then the abortionist punctures or crushes the skull to allow for the full operation. Pro-family groups and most evangelical Christian groups have scorned the practice as legalized murder.

Last month, in a similar ruling, the nation’s highest court ruled against a 2003 federal law prohibiting partial birth abortion, entitled the “Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.” The Act was signed into law by President Bush last November, after having gained a majority support in Congress. While last month’s ruling in favor of the practice did not affect all abortion clinics across the nation, it applied to Planned Parenthood – the chain of abortion clinics that account for more than half of such stations in the States.

Paula Gianino, president of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, called the recent ruling a “victory.”

"We are relieved and grateful that the court was able to see through this dangerous and deceptive bill," Gianino told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

However, Patty Skain, the executive director for Missouri Right to Life, said the decision, while not surprising, should be appealed.

"We believe this is a procedure that should not be taking place," said Skain, who added that she expected Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon to appeal the decision at the Eight U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.