ADF: 4th Circuit correct to rehear Va. abortion ban lawsuit

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

RICHMOND, Va. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund say that a significant 6-4 decision Monday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit to rehear a case involving the constitutionality of Virginia’s partial birth abortion ban was the right choice.  The full court will reconsider a previous decision by a three-judge panel that determined the ban was unconstitutional.

“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 is right to revisit the decision against Virginia’s law,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence.  “The decision of the three-judge panel conflicts significantly with the Supreme Court’s ruling over a year ago that upheld the federal law banning partial birth abortion.”

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.

ADF provided funding for friend-of-the-court briefs coordinated through ADF-allied attorney Jim Bopp prior to the 4th Circuit’s first decision in the case.

“Certainly the Commonwealth of Virginia can ban partial birth abortion when the Supreme Court says the Constitution allows the federal government to do so,” Lorence continued.  “The Constitution should not be interpreted to prohibit the Virginia General Assembly from enacting a law like it did here.  The abortionists pursuing this case show an obsessive devotion to abortion that they think trumps reasonable public policy decisions.”

A copy of the 2004 amicus brief filed in Richmond Medical Center for Women v. Herring is available here

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.