PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION PROHIBITED
Section 1531 of Title 18 creates a prohibition of partial-birth abortions. The substantive prohibition in the law is contained in 18 U.S.C. § 1531(a), which establishes criminal liability for a Aphysician (defined at (b)(2)) who, in or affecting interstate commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion (defined at (b)(1)) and thereby kills a human fetus. Thus, the essential elements of a violation are that the physician must (1) knowingly perform a partial-birth abortion (2) must kill the fetus and (3) the procedure must be in or affecting interstate commerce. Section 1531(a) states that a violator Ashall be fined or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both,"
TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 1531
- Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both. This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself. This subsection takes effect 1 day after the enactment.
- As used in this section -
- the term "partial-birth abortion" means an abortion in which the person performing the abortion -
- deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and
- performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus; and
- the term "physician" means a doctor of medicine or osteopathy legally authorized to practice medicine and surgery by the State in which the doctor performs such activity, or any other individual legally authorized by the State to perform abortions: Provided, however, That any individual who is not a physician or not otherwise legally authorized by the State to perform abortions, but who nevertheless directly performs a partial-birth abortion, shall be subject to the provisions of this section.
- The father, if married to the mother at the time she receives a partial-birth abortion procedure, and if the mother has not attained the age of 18 years at the time of the abortion, the maternal grandparents of the fetus, may in a civil action obtain appropriate relief, unless the pregnancy resulted from the plaintiff's criminal conduct or the plaintiff consented to the abortion.
- Such relief shall include-
- money damages for all injuries, psychological and physical, occasioned by the violation of this section; and
- statutory damages equal to three times the cost of the partial-birth abortion.
- A defendant accused of an offense under this section may seek a hearing before the State Medical Board on whether the physician's conduct was necessary to save the life of the mother whose life was endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.
- The findings on that issue are admissible on that issue at the trial of the defendant. Upon a motion of the defendant, the court shall delay the beginning of the trial for not more than 30 days to permit such a hearing to take place.
- A woman upon whom a partial-birth abortion is performed may not be prosecuted under this section, for a conspiracy to violate this section, or for an offense under section 2, 3, or 4 of this title based on a violation of this section.
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