The 4th Circuit affirmed the constitutionality of Virginia’s ban on partial-birth abortion yesterday, ruling in Richmond Medical Center v. Herring that a three judge panel of the same court had erred in declaring the law passed in 2003 was unconstitutional. This should end the effort by some in the “pro choice” crowd to protect the ability of abortionists to suck the brains out of partially-delivered babies, but an appeal here is possible, albeit rather unlikely. We shouldn’t have to be discussing such gruesome topics, and hopefully this will close the discussion and thanks to Bob Marshall, we will.
Delegate Bob Marshall offered HB 1541 in 2003, which sailed out of the House 72-27 with opposition from only a few lefties, many of whom are now out of politics such as Brian Moran and Kris Amundson. A substitute passed out of the Senate 29-11, opposed by some such as current Gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds and current Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw. After a conference committee ironed out the diffferences, and then Governor Mark Warner failed to get a mother’s health exemption inserted, Warner signed the bill into law, knowing full well a veto would be overridden.
Something as controversial as preventing such an outrageous and brutal practice as this of course became fodder for a lawsuit. The Richmond Center for Women immediately filed a lawsuit claiming that the law was written too broadly and could wrongly criminalize “procedures” (read: infanticide) beyond the intent of the legislation. That lawsuit has been batted back and forth in the Virginia courts for years, with panels stacked full of self-described liberal jurists appointed by Bill Clinton ruling that the law was unconstitutional, and the full Fourth Circuit regularly ruling the opposite. At the center of the case is the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carhart v. Gonzales which upheld a federal ban on partial-birth abortions, and whether Virginia’s law prohibiting abortionists from sucking the brains out of fully-developed babies who are almost entirely outside of the mother’s body complies with federal law and the decision in Gonzales.
Marshall celebrated this decision in a press release sent out yesterday:
Delegate Marshall noted, “The most fundamental purpose of government is to protect human lives. The court did that here.”
Marshall added, “It is telling that it was Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson, who criticized abortion in his Notes on Virginia, and who affirmed in the Declaration of Independence that the first natural right of persons is the right to life which comes directly from God, when he wrote that, ‘all men are created equal,’ and that Jefferson didn’t say all men are born equal for a reason.”
Marshall said he read previous court decisions and other statutes before he crafted HB 1541. “I wanted a law that upheld the right to life of children near birth, would expand the legal protections previously denied such children by other federal court decisions, and which would be constitutional.”
Noting his goals were affirmed in the decision, Marshall commended Judge J. Harvie Wilkerson for his concurring opinion: “The fact is that we–civilized people–are retreating to the haven of our Constitution to justify dismembering a partly born child and crushing its skull. Surely centuries hence, people will look back on this gruesome practice done in the name of fundamental law by a society of high achievement. And they will shudder.”
In addition to the vitally important protections for human life that are solidified in this decision, it’s worth noting that once again important legislation written by Bob Marshall has been endorsed by the courts that liberals like Bob Brink, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds swore up and down was unlawful. Whether Marshall is driving his fellow caucus members to distraction by demanding that they adhere to the law, or driving Democrats to distraction by pushing through bullet-proof laws they cannot stand such as the Marriage Amendment and this Partial Birth Infanticide Ban, he gets some tremendously important initiatives done where so many others have failed.
This most recent tremendous legislative victory only cements Bob Marshall’s standing as one of the top conservative leaders in Virginia, and as the top conservative leader in Virginia who gets things done. Keep an eye on this guy, as he is definitely going places.
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