Friday, August 27, 2004


From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Partial-birth abortion act ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge declared the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act unconstitutional today in the second such ruling in three months -- even though he called the procedure "gruesome, brutal, barbaric and uncivilized."

U.S. District Judge Richard C. Casey -- one of three federal judges across the country to hear simultaneous challenges to the law earlier this year -- faulted the ban for not containing an exception to protect a woman's health, something the Supreme Court has made clear is required in laws prohibiting particular types of abortion.

The law, signed last November, banned a procedure known to doctors as intact dilation and extraction and called partial-birth abortion by abortion foes. The fetus is partially removed from the womb, and the skull is punctured or crushed.

Louise Melling, director of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, said her group was thrilled by the ruling.

"We can only hope as we have decision after decision after decision striking these bans, saying they endanger women's health, that the legislatures will finally stop," she said.

Click here for the rest.

I wouldn't bet on Melling getting her wish, however. As Atrios over at Eschaton observed yesterday, the Republicans know these laws are going to be overturned: they keep passing them in order to keep abortion alive as one of the divisive political issues on which the GOP thrives.

And again from the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Anti-abortion protesters convicted in Waco

Nearly 20 people who protested in front of the Planned Parenthood of Central Texas were found guilty of violating a city ordinance.

The demonstrators were cited in March for refusing to disperse in front of the clinic, across the street from a school. A month earlier, the Waco City Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting street activity and parades, including demonstrations, during school zone hours.

City officials said the ordinance aims to reduce traffic hazards around schools, but anti-abortion activists say it tramples on free speech, religious liberty and the right to peaceably assemble.

Click here for the rest.

Of course, I'm a big supporter of the first amendment, all of it, including the religious part. However, you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater. That is, the state must balance reasonable public safety concerns against first amendment freedoms. These people can still protest; they simply have to do it in a safe manner. Their rights are not being violated.

And, I must admit, I'm totally gloating about the fact that this means these zealots were busted for protesting women's abortion rights. Ha! In yer face!