Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Overturned VA Abortion Ban Proved To Be Worse Than Federal Abortion Ban


Kudos to Virginian activists and their victory over the state law that would have prohibited certain abortion procedures after twelve weeks. The appeal decision was based on the upholding of the Federal Abortion Ban Act in April 2007.

Thanks to Judge M. Blane Michael and Judge Diana Gribbon Motz for the majority 2-1 rule on Richmond Medical Center v. Herring agreeing that the Virginia ban is much more restrictive than the already strict Federal Abortion Ban (FAB). Since the FAB was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carhart, organizations like the Center for Reproductive Rights have been fighting across the U.S. to prevent similar, and in several cases even more restrictive, state laws from being enacted. One example is South Dakota’s attempt with the Women’s Health and Human Life Protection Act. Virginia and South Dakota have attempted to introduce their bills back into the house after repeatedly being defeated by the pro-choice majority. Both the Virginia ban and the FAB fail to include provisions for the mother’s health. However, Virginia’s ban would have created even more restrictions for doctors performing an abortion after 12 weeks. By placing greater limitations on doctors, this law would greatly impact a woman’s access to safe abortion procedures. If the Virginia ban were approved, doctors would no longer have the authority to perform the procedure they determine to be the safest. Thankfully, the decision to overturn this ban proves that Virginia will not tolerate the far right’s repeated attempts to allow politicians to act like medical doctors.

Judge Paul V. Niemeyer disagreed with the outcome, stating that the, “minor differences in both bans were exploited.” It seems that Judge Niemeyer has little regard for a women’s health, as what he considers to be minor differences translate into major changes for doctors and women. Judge Niemeyer has proven that the health and safety of women are not high on his priority list. At least not as important as confirming that he is willing to proudly stand by his conservative base, regardless of the cost.
Even though the Federal ban is still in existence—there are many women and doctors in the state of Virginia that are a little safer thanks to the actions of the Virginia courts.

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