The two sides in the abortion debate are reacting predictably to today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling which upheld the federal ban on so-called "partial birth abortion."
Iowa Right-to-Life Committee president Kim Lehman says they’re "really excited" the Supreme Court upheld the ban that cleared congress and was signed into law by President Bush. "Obviously, his new appointees made the difference," Lehman says.
She’s referring to the two new Supreme Court justices Bush has appointed to the nation’s highest court. "In Iowa, we did pass a ban on partial birth abortion, but the (U.S.) Supreme Court struck it down in 2002," Lehman says. She credits Bush’s picks for the court — new Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito – for making the difference today in the five-to-four ruling.
"It’s a trial run to see what type of court we have," Lehman says. "…We’re just really happy that the court did the right thing."
Congressman Steve King, a western Iowa Republican, says the new justices President Bush appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court have swung the court in a new direction on the abortion issue. "That’s something that we, at least I, hoped would happen," King says. "…A civilized nation just cannot be dismembering babies that are within one inch of being able to fill their own lungs with air and scream for their own mercy. It is the most ghastly thing that I can imagine."
King says today’s ruling is a "milestone" in the abortion fight, but there’s more progress to be made.
The president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa is lamenting today’s ruling. Planned Parenthood’s Jill June says the Supreme Court has attacked the medical judgement of physicians. "We at Planned Parenthood, you know, have been fighting for some time to protect the rights of women to make private medical decisions," she says. "…The health interests of women have been kicked under the bus by the Supreme Court and now politicians get to dictate medical judgement as opposed to trained medical experts."
June expects anti-abortion forces to quickly to press for more restrictions. "This ruling paves the way for an unending rampage of laws introduced throughout the country in state legislatures," she says.
Planned Parenthood will get more involved in the political process, according to June. "We are going to fight this with everything that we can," she says. "…The rights of women and science and health of the nation is being undermined by ideology."