Decision To Uphold Partial Birth Abortion Ban Impacts Debate

By Justin Moss

July 22, 2010 Updated Apr 19, 2007 at 6:57 PM EDT

Southern Tier Women's Services performs about 7 abortions every day.

Director Peg Johnston thinks a new Supreme Court ruling will have huge effects.

"It is an alarming decision, because it unravels about 30 years of precedent at the Supreme Court level," says Johnston.

The decision bans a procedure known as partial birth abortion, in which the fetus is removed later in a pregnancy.

It's not performed at the clinic in Vestal.

But Johnston thinks the ruling will impact all women considering abortion.

"Which makes a lot of doctors worried whether they're in a gray area, they're just not going to want to go to jail and just not do abortions," says Johnston.

Planned Parenthood does not provide abortions, but speaks out on women's issues.

It says partial birth abortion may be necessary when a woman's health is in danger.

But the ban on the procedure makes no exceptions.

"What's disturbing about the Supreme Court decision is it takes a medical decision away from a doctor and puts it in the hands of politicians," says Ingrid Husisian of Planned Parenthood.

Colleen Cortese thinks the Supreme Court made the right move.

She says innocent lives need protection.

Cortese wishes people knew more about the procedure.

"Most people would conclude for themselves it's barbaric, and it's not something they'd want to see happen to their family's pet, much less a human being," says Cortese.

That goes back to the core of the abortion argument.

Whether the fetus is a human being.

And the Supreme Court decision doesn't end that debate.

Partial birth abortions make up a small number of all abortions.

Critics say Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling was influenced by more conservative justices, appointed recently by President Bush.

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