Partial Birth Abortion

January 24, 2000

The Supreme Court just added an abortion case to its docket for the first time in eight years. The court will decide whether a Nebraska law banning partial-birth abortion is constitutional.

This is just the latest evidence that partial-birth abortion will be a key issue in the year 2000. Senators will be given the opportunity to vote on this procedure during this session of Congress. Considering that it is an election year, it is possible that the Senate might produce a veto-proof margin on a ban on partial-birth abortion.

Meanwhile, federal courts have forced the Supreme Court to deliberate on the issue. This fall federal judges in Wisconsin and Illinois found the partial-birth abortion bans in their states to be constitutional. Before the laws could be implemented, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens issued a stay that holds the two state laws in limbo until the high court disposes of the appeals.

Now the court has decided to take a case out of Nebraska that was overturned by the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court. The case does not provide an exception for the life of the mother and also challenges the court to reconsider the question of whether abortion is really a constitutional right. When the court took the Nebraska case, the justices indicated that they were not interested in revisiting that basic question. Nevertheless, the case will give the court the best chance in years to clarify its stand on abortion.

Already this year is heating up with important cases before the Supreme Court. The various state legislatures that passed bans on partial-birth abortion effectively forced the court to deal with this issue. We can only pray now that they do the right thing.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.