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June 28, 2000


Communications Department

Supreme Court Strikes Down Nebraska's So-Called "Partial-Birth Abortion" Ban in Stenberg v. Carhart

Rules Abortion Ban Outlaws Safe Abortion Procedures and Fails to put Women's Lives and Health First

Washington, DC - In its first abortion rights ruling in eight years, the Supreme Court today struck down Nebraska's so-called "partial-birth abortion" ban by a 5-4 vote. "Today's ruling represents a decisive victory not only for Dr. Carhart, but for women across the country," said Vicki Saporta, Executive Director of the National Abortion Federation (NAF). "The court has sent a clear message that, contrary to what their proponents have claimed, so-called 'partial-birth abortion' bans threaten women's health by outlawing safe abortion procedures."

"Today's 5-4 victory should also serve as a reminder that we need to continue to be vigilant to preserve a woman's right to choose," cautioned Saporta. "As these abortion bans have shown, it is all too easy for politicians to chip away at a woman's right to choose through campaigns of misinformation and restrictive legislation. All Americans who support the right of families to make their own personal, private health care decisions should realize just how fragile that right is, and register their support for abortion rights in the voting booths this fall."

"We are also extremely pleased that the Court has affirmed that doctors, not legislators, should make health care decisions," said Saporta. "And if doctors are to continue to decide what's best for their patients, families across the country must send the unequivocal message to their legislators that they will not tolerate any more encroachments on the critically important doctor-patient relationship."

The National Abortion Federation was one of five organizations that filed a medical friend of the court brief supporting NAF member Dr. Carhart in Stenberg v. Carhart. Other signers of the brief were the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Women's Association, the American Nurses Association, and Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

"The Supreme Court's decision has exposed the threat that so-called 'partial-birth abortion' bans around the country pose to American women. The court has sent the message that you cannot support 'partial-birth' abortion bans and support the right to choose. The politicians who backed these laws should be held accountable for wasting taxpayer money and misleading the public about laws that threaten women's health to further the extreme political agenda of banning most abortions for American women."


The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.

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