Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice
FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2004
(202) 514-2008
TDD (202) 514-1888


“Next week, as trial begins in New York, Nebraska, and California, the Justice Department will work vigorously to defend the law prohibiting partial-birth abortions. The Department will be devoting all resources necessary to defend the bipartisan findings of Congress that this violent practice is unnecessary, as well as painful and cruel to the partially-born child. A bipartisan majority in Congress reached this conclusion after eight years of testimony from respected medical professionals who stated that partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary. As President Bush has said, this law ‘will end an abhorrent practice and continue to build a culture of life in America.’ The Justice Department will be working hard during these trials to fulfill the goal of the President and Congress to protect innocent new life from the practice of partial-birth abortion.”


Trials in all three constitutional challenges to the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act will start on Monday, March 29, 2004.

NEW YORK: Before Judge Richard C. Casey (starting at 9:30 a.m.)
U.S. Courthouse: 500 Pearl Street and 40 Centre Street, New York, New York
Trial set for 4 weeks

NEBRASKA: Before Judge Richard G. Kopf
U.S. Courthouse: 593 Federal Building, 100 Centennial Mall North, Lincoln, Nebraska
Trial set for 2 weeks

CALIFORNIA: Before Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton
U.S. Courthouse: 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, California
Trial set for 3 weeks

Specific findings of Congress:

Congress found that a “moral, medical, and ethical consensus exists that the practice of performing a partial-birth abortion... is a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited.” See Act, § 2(1). Congress determined that “[r]ather than being an abortion procedure that is embraced by the medical community, particularly among physicians who routinely perform other abortion procedures, partial-birth abortion remains a disfavored procedure that is not only unnecessary to preserve the health of the mother, but in fact poses serious risks to the long-term health of women and in some circumstances, their lives.” See Act, § 2(2).

Congress also found that partial-birth abortion “confuses the medical, legal, and ethical duties of physicians to preserve and promote life, as the physician acts directly against the physical life of a child, whom he or she had just delivered, all but the head, out of the womb, in order to end that life.” Congress also found, “Partial-birth abortion thus appropriates the terminology and techniques used by obstetricians in the delivery of living children - obstetricians who preserve and protect the life of the mother and the child - and instead uses those techniques to end the life of the partially-born child.” See Act, § 2(14)(J).

“[U]nborn infants at this stage can feel pain when subjected to painful stimuli and that their perception of this pain is even more intense than that of newborn infants and older children when subjected to the same stimuli. Thus, during a partial-birth abortion procedure, the child will fully experience the pain associated with piercing his or her skull and sucking out his or her brain.” See Act, § 2(14)(M).

Congress concluded that the “gruesome and inhumane nature of the partial-birth abortion procedure and its disturbing similarity to the killing of a newborn infant promotes a complete disregard for infant human life that can only be countered by a prohibition of the procedure.” See Act, § 2(14)(L).