Another good commentary on the ruling at First Things.
Partial Birth Abortion Ban Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court – A Pro-Life Legacy for Bush Established
By John-Henry Westen
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a 5-4 majority decision penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the U.S. 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.
The interesting thing is that Kennedy (a “Catholic”) wrote the majority opinion. He is the one who helped cement abortion as a right back in the 90's by siding with Justice O'Connor et al in the judicially absurd “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” decision in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.
To read the various spins on the decision: CNN, Fox News, ABC News, NBC News. Count how many times the words “rare”, “sharply divided”, “foe”, “conservative”, “scary” and “disturbing” are used. The last two don't count if used to refer to the procedure itself.