Nadler Hails Decision on So-Called "Partial Birth Abortion" Ban

May 31, 2004

Washington, DC -- Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today applauded a ruling made by a federal judge in California that the federal abortion ban passed by Congress and signed by the President last year is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. The abortion ban, which was challenged in Planned Parenthood Federation of America v. Ashcroft, was ruled unconstitutional by Federal District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton, who also ruled that the Department of Justice did not have the right to view the confidential records of women who obtained abortions at hospitals in some states, including New York.

"Put simply, the Federal District Court ruled in favor of women and their right to choose and against the extremism of the Bush Administration," said Nadler. "This ruling proves what pro-choice advocates have said for years: a ban on so-called 'partial birth abortions' is unconstitutional, and debating and approving such legislation is a waste of taxpayer dollars for the sake of political extremism. This ruling also shows that Attorney General John Ashcroft now must find better things to do with his time than search through women's private medical records."

A congressional majority approved the "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003" in October 2003 and President Bush signed the measure in November 2003. On March 29, 2004, three federal courts began hearing legal challenges to the new law.

"This ruling sends a message to the Bush Administration that its arrogant disregard of existing law will not be tolerated and that playing politics with women's reproductive rights will not pass muster in the courts," said Nadler.