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Court Hears Appeal on Partial Birth Ban

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A three-judge federal appeals court panel in St. Louis Thursday heard oral arguments over a law banning so-called partial-birth abortions, also known as intact dilation and extraction.

The appeal stems from a case in Nebraska. In September, a federal judge there struck down the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, which President Bush signed in 2003.

Judge Richard Kopf agreed with abortion rights supporters that the law was too vague, and that the lack of a health exception for the woman made it unconstitutional.

The Justice Department appealed that ruling. Attorneys for the government claim the health exception is not necessary, because Congress found through testimony that the procedure is unsafe.

Lawyers for the Center for Reproductive Rights countered by saying only the courts, not Congress, have the authority to make a factual determination on safety.

There are two similar cases now under federal appeal.


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