Justice Stevens Blocks Ban on Partial-Birth Abortions By Two Midwest States

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Wednesday blocked Wisconsin and Illinois laws banning partial-birth abortions from taking effect. Actually, Stevens blocked an order issued Tuesday by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which would have allowed the two states to begin enforcing their bans on partial-birth abortions.

The full court of appeals upheld the constitutionality of both laws on October 26th. The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, DC, reacted by saying in a prepared statement that "It is regrettable...Justice Stevens has unilaterally blocked enforcement of bans on partial-birth abortions that were democratically enacted by the legislatures of two states and upheld as constitutional by a full federal court of appeals. Stevens has long demonstrated a hostility to any limitation on abortion on demand. We hope that Wisconsin and Illinois will request immediate review of Stevens' action by the other eight justices."

Whether or not the full court reviews Stevens' action, the Supreme Court likely will deal with the issue of partial-birth abortion this term or next term. Groups challenging the laws will request Supreme Court review of the October 26th ruling the Seventh Circuit.

Meanwhile, Nebraska has requested a Supreme Court review of an earlier ruling by a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit, striking down Nebraska's ban on partial-birth abortions. Challenges to state bans are pending before five other circuit courts.