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Federal judge rules partial-birth abortion ban is unconstitutional

[JURIST] A federal judge Wednesday struck down the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act as unconstitutional because it did not have an exception for women whose health is in danger. District Judge Richard Kopf of the US District Court for Nebraska was the third US judge to rule against the act, after a judge in California and a judge in New York ruled against the law earlier this summer (see this and this Paper Chase report for background). The act was signed into law by President Bush in 2003, but enforcement was delayed pending the three challenges against it. In the opinion, Judge Kopf wrote:

After giving Congress the respectful consideration it is always due, I find and conclude that the ban is unreasonable and not supported by substantial evidence. In truth, "partial-birth abortions," which are medically known as "intact D&E" or "D&X" procedures, are sometimes necessary to preserve the health of a woman seeking an abortion. While the procedure is infrequently used as a relative matter, when it is needed, the health of women frequently hangs in the balance.
View the full opinion [PDF]. AP has more.

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