Fourth Circuit Protects Women and Children by Upholding Va. Partial-Birth Infanticide Statute
By Dawn Eden | June 25, 2009
In a 6-5 decision yesterday in Richmond Medical Center v. Herring, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Virginia’s ban on partial birth infanticide—a law which mirrors the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.
“We are thrilled that the Fourth Circuit followed clear Supreme Court precedent and upheld Virginia’s ban on partial-birth abortion – which is more accurately called partial-birth infanticide,” stated AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “This ban protects not only the unborn, but also the health and welfare of women. It is a law that the vast majority of Americans are justified in supporting.”
Added AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke, “A wealth of medical evidence demonstrates that late-term abortions — and particularly partial-birth abortions — can have devastating health effects, including uterine puncture or rupture, puncture of the uterine artery, permanent injury to the cervix, and risks for subsequent pregnancies By upholding Virginia’s statute, the Fourth Circuit has protected women from these grievous and very real risks.”
Mailee Smith, Staff Counsel at AUL, said, “We are also pleased that the Fourth Circuit has given deference to the actions of the Virginia legislature, affirming the state’s significant interest in protecting women and children from the harms inherent in abortion.”
The decision follows a previous ruling by a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit striking the law as unconstitutional. The state requested rehearing by the full court, and today’s decision is the result of that review. Abortion supporters are expected to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review today’s decision.
AUL provided litigation support to the state and filed an amicus brief supporting Virginia’s law. The brief was filed on behalf of 11 members of the Virginia legislature, including Delegate Robert G. Marshall, who was the chief patron of the enabling legislation. The brief was also filed on behalf of U.S. Sen.Tom A. Coburn, M.D.
LEARN MORE: AUL Staff Counsel Mailee Smith explains why state bans are needed given the federal partial-birth abortion ban.