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Capitol Health Call
December 10, 2003

Judges Ban Abortion Ban

JAMA. 2003;290(22):2929. doi:10.1001/jama.290.22.2929-a

Hours after President George W. Bush signed the first law restricting abortion in 30 years, three federal judges issued injunctions against the law, rendering it temporarily unenforceable. Passed by Congress on October 20 and signed by Bush on November 5, the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003 provides for fines and imprisonment of physicians who perform certain second- and third-trimester abortions.

Abortion providers filed suits in California, Nebraska, and New York, saying that the law was unconstitutional because it did not provide an exception to protect the health of the mother. (In 2000, the US Supreme Court ruled that a similar Nebraska law was unconstitutional on those grounds.) All three courts agreed that the cases had merit and handed down the injunctions, which cover most abortion providers in the United States, including all 850 clinics operated by Planned Parenthood.

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