Court Upholds VA Partial-Birth Abortion Ban – Judge Says Future Generations Will “Shudder”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled Wednesday to uphold the constitutionality of Virginia’s partial-birth abortion ban. The full court reversed a previous decision by a three-judge panel that determined the ban was unconstitutional.

In the opinion issued Wednesday, the 4th Circuit concluded that “little or no evidence” exists to suggest the ban would prevent other types of abortions from being performed without subjecting doctors to criminal liability.

The court wrote, “To hold the Virginia Act facially unconstitutional for all circumstances based on the possible rare circumstance presented … is not appropriate under any standard for facial challenges. Moreover, the Virginia Act … provides sufficient clarity as to what conduct is prohibited to enable a doctor of reasonable intelligence to avoid criminal liability under it, and therefore the Virginia Act is constitutional.”

In his concurring opinion, Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson wrote, “The fact is that we – civilized people – are retreating to the haven of our Constitution to justify dismembering a partly born child and crushing its skull. Surely centuries hence, people will look back on this gruesome practice done in the name of fundamental law by a society of high achievement. And they will shudder.”

“No one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life is worthless. Virginia has legitimately chosen to protect innocent life from a terrible procedure, and the court was right to uphold Virginia’s law,” said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence. The ADF provided funding for friend-of-the-court briefs for the case.

“The decision of the three-judge panel conflicted significantly with the Supreme Court’s ruling two years ago that upheld the federal law banning partial birth abortion,” he continued.

In light of its decision to uphold the federal partial birth abortion ban in Carhart v. Gonzales, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the 4th Circuit panel to reexamine its initial Sept. 7, 2007, decision that found the Virginia ban unconstitutional. The review resulted in a 2-1 split-panel decision, handed down May 20, which also ruled the ban as unconstitutional. Virginia then asked the entire 4th Circuit to hear the case.

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  • Claire

    Good for him! He’s absolutely right that if future generations have any conscience at all, this barbaric practice will be viewed with the same disdain as slavery, the Holocaust, etc.

  • Pingback: Court Upholds VA Partial-Birth Abortion Ban - Judge Says Future Generations Will “Shudder” | Pelican Project Pro-Life()

  • DRF

    What this law is really meant to accomplish is to make providing abortions so legally complicated that doctors become afraid to treat their patients. That means that women have to travel further to get their procedures, take more time off of work and pay more money.

    And there is no such thing as “partial-birth abortion”; the term is anti-abortion propaganda. We should all call each procedure by its proper medical name.

  • isidore

    Maybe you can help me: I’m not sure what the proper medical name is for partially delivering a baby, then taking her life by inserting a metal object into the base of her skull to sever her brain stem. Thank God nobody did that to you or me when we were at our most vulnerable! I’m not a doctor or a lawyer, but if someone did that to you or to me today I’m pretty sure it would be called murder.

    I’m not anti-abortion. I believe many things should be aborted: government programs to take over American companies; tax policies that diminish the motivation to work; no-fault divorce, to name a few.

    I am pro-life. This means I believe in the sanctity of all human life from natural conception to natural death. You have intrinsic equal value which has been given to you by our creator. Just like that baby.

  • Leila


    We routinely call rhinoplasty a “nose job”. Do you object? I doubt it. Everyone can understand “nose job” and it is not a misrepresentation of anything.

    “Partial-birth abortion” may not be “medically correct” but it as accurate and misrepresents nothing. The baby is partially born, and then aborted. What do you have against people understanding clearly what is being done?

    And it is chilling to read someone defend the indefensible.

    That makes me shudder.

    Blessings to you.

  • Leila

    And one more thing, DRF: I am the daughter of a doctor and a nurse. Another uncle is a doctor, and another uncle a pharmacist. I come from a medical family, obviously. But I am not a medical “snob” as you apparently are. Do you really, truly believe we cannot discuss any medical procedure except by its “technical” name? That would hinder most medical speech by normal folks. Think about what a level of elitism and snobbery that is.

    Two of my seven children are sick with the flu (oops, I mean “Influenza Type A”) and I must go dispense them their Tylenol (oops, I mean “acetaminophen”)… Have a great day!

  • Claire

    Do you expect us to be outraged that women will have to travel further, pay more money and take more time off from work to kill their late-term babies? Sorry, you’ve come to the wrong place.

  • I am almost speechless when I hear the how people believe that it is take human life. Episcopalian Priest, the Rev. Nina Churchman wrote a letter to Episcopal Life Online saying that women shouldn’t have to ask for forgiveness for aborting a child. In fact, Rev. Churchman then goes one step further and says God rejoices in the woman’s choice to abort. How they can defend killing an innocent child is indefensible. We truly need to pray for people like DRF and Rev. Churchman that their eyes will be open to the sin they promote. And it is a sin.

  • Terri Kimmel


    I know I am coming in late, but I want to warmly welcome you to Catholic Exchange and let you know how very encouraged and glad I am that you are here reading. Seek the truth, friend, and you will find it.

    If you’d like to see photos of a baby killed by “partial-birth abortion” (sorry, I don’t know the medical term for it) you can go to and look under the link that talks about what is done with the babies’ bodies. It’s the “funeral” photos. A picture is worth a thousand words.

    I am truly so happy that you’re reading and commenting on the site. Please keep reading and searching. The truth never contradicts itself; it is always consistent.

    God bless.

    Terri Kimmel

  • Terri Kimmel

    Women deserve to know the full truth about abortion. is another good source.