WASHINGTON, February 7, 2002 ( – The Department of Justice has filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to support Ohio’s ban on partial-birth abortion. The brief argues that Ohio’s law banning partial-birth abortion is different from the Nebraska law that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Stenberg vs. Carhart, and therefore should be upheld.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio struck down Ohio’s law, claiming it did not comply with the Supreme Court’s decision in Stenberg vs. Carhart. The Supreme Court had ruled that Nebraska’s law did not provide a sufficient exception for the “health” of the mother, and the ban could have extended to other methods of abortion.

The brief from the Department of Justice shows that the Ohio ban targets only partial-birth abortion, and “contains an exception to permit partial-birth abortion where ‘necessary’ to preserve the ‘life or health’ of the mother.” The exception for health of the mother in the Ohio law is virtually identical to an exception upheld by the Supreme Court in its Casey decision for “medical emergency” described as a “condition which … so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

Wendy Wright of Concerned Women of America commented on the Bush Administration measure saying, “It is never justified to mostly deliver a baby and suction her brains out. We are pleased to see the Bush administration is pursuing avenues to protect babies from this inhumane procedure.”

See the full 27-page Justice Department brief at: