Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The New York Times: Virginia Abortion Ban Struck Down, by Adam Liptak:
A federal appeals court panel in Richmond, Va., struck down on Tuesday a Virginia law that made it a crime for doctors to perform what the law called “partial birth infanticide.”
In a 2-to-1 decision, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the Virginia law was more restrictive than the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which the United States Supreme Court upheld last year in Gonzales v. Carhart.
Both laws prohibited the procedure known medically as intact dilation and extraction. It involves removing an intact fetus and, typically, piercing or crushing its skull. The more common second-trimester abortion procedure, dilation and evacuation, involves dismembering the fetus in the uterus.
The key difference between the two laws, Judge M. Blane Michael wrote for the majority, was that the federal law imposes criminal charges only when doctors intend at the outset to perform the procedure, while Virginia law also made it a crime for doctors to perform the prohibited procedure by mistake.