(T)he person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus.
What This Really Means:
A Rare Procedure:
The Central Question:
The Court's Ruling:
What This Means:
- As per Roe v. Wade, women have the right to an abortion at any point of previability.
- The Partial Birth Abortion Act would be unconstitutional "if its purpose or effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before a fetus attains viability."
- The Partial Birth Abortion Act does not meet that standard.
- Therefore, the Partial Birth Abortion Act is constitutional.
Justice Thomas' Anti-Abortion Concurrence:
Justice Ginsburg's Dissent:
Grounds for Dissent:
- That the ruling does not adequately address jurisprudence issues brought up in other abortion-related cases over the past 20 years.
- That it "tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)."
- That the Partial Birth Abortion Act makes no distinction between previability and postviability abortions.
- That the Partial Birth Abortion Act contains no woman's health exception.
April 18, 2007:
- Gonzales v. Carhart and the Kennedy Coalition: Does the ruling reveal a new 7-2 majority in favor of Roe v. Wade?
- Abortion Rights After Gonzales v. Carhart: What will be the ruling's long-term impact on reproductive rights?
- On Abortion Rights, the Truth is an Affirmative Defense: National Democrats are spinning Gonzales as a broader, more catastrophic ruling than it actually is. This spin plays very well in states like New York and California, but it only emboldens abortion opponents in more conservative states like Mississippi and South Dakota--where the pro-choice movement is needed most.
- Why the Democratic Congress is Sabotaging Its Own Civil Liberties Agenda: Drafted as a response to Gonzales v. Carhart, the Freedom of Choice Act does more harm than good for the pro-choice movement.