In a 5-4 majority decision penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the US Supreme Court has upheld the federal partial birth abortion ban which was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003.
The law bans "partial-birth abortion," a legal term of art, defined in the law itself as any abortion in which the baby is delivered feet-first "past the [baby's] navel…outside the body of the mother," or "in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother," before being killed.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, who have previously voted on the court against the gruesome late-term abortion procedure, voted with the majority. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito who were appointed by President Bush also voted with the majority.
"This will be President Bush's pro-life legacy," said Jim Hughes, Vice President of the International Right to Life Committee. Hughes, also the President of Campaign Life Coalition Canada added: "Thank God for him because what he's doing there is going to affect us greatly here north of the 49th parallel."
Referring to Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups which argued against the ban, Justice Kennedy wrote that they "have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases."
Kennedy maintained that the current ruling upheld the Roe v. Wade, 1973 abortion decision. He said that since other abortion options are available, "it does not construct a substantial obstacle to the abortion right."
A short adjoining opinion written by Justice Thomas and joined by Justice Scalia, said "that the Court's abortion jurisprudence…has no basis in the Constitution." Of note, neither Justice Alito nor Chief Justice Roberts joined that opinion.