FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2009
Washington, DC — In a 6-5 decision in Richmond Medical Center v. Herring, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Virginia’s ban on partial birth infanticide — a law that mirrors the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.
Americans United for Life (AUL) provided litigation support to the state and filed an amicus brief supporting Virginia’s law. In addition, AUL Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe assisted the Solicitor General of the Commonwealth of Virginia with a moot court session to prepare for oral arguments in the case.
Dr. Charmaine Yoest, AUL President & CEO stated: “We are thrilled that the Fourth Circuit followed clear U.S. Supreme Court precedent and upheld Virginia’s ban on partial-birth abortion — which is more accurately called partial-birth infanticide. This ban protects not only the unborn, but also the health and welfare of women. It is a law that the vast majority of Americans are justified in supporting.”
Denise Burke, AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs added: “A wealth of medical evidence demonstrates that late-term abortions — and particularly partial-birth abortions — can have devastating health effects, including uterine puncture or rupture, puncture of the uterine artery, permanent injury to the cervix, and risks for subsequent pregnancies. By upholding Virginia’s statute, the Fourth Circuit has protected women from these grievous and very real risks.”
Mailee Smith, AUL Staff Counsel, said, “We are also pleased that the Fourth Circuit has given deference to the actions of the Virginia legislature, affirming the state’s significant interest in protecting women and children from the harms inherent in abortion.”
The decision follows a previous ruling by a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit striking the law as unconstitutional. The state requested rehearing by the full court, and this decision is the result of that review. Abortion supporters are expected to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.
AUL’s brief was filed on behalf of 11 members of the Virginia legislature, including Delegate Robert G. Marshall, who was the chief patron of the enabling legislation. The brief was also filed on behalf of U.S. Sen.Tom A. Coburn, M.D. It is available online at:
About Americans United for Life
Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971. The Wall Street Journal has profiled AUL, and PBS’ Frontline program chronicled AUL’s successful efforts in Mississippi.