American Journal of Law & Medicine

Select recent court decisions.

Abortion: Supreme Court Upholds Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act Against Facial Challenge--Gonzales v. Carhart, 127 S.Ct. 1610 (2007).

Tort Law: Third Circuit Holds Federal Agency Liable for Deaths Mentally-Ill Patient Caused After Negligent Discharge from Treatment Program--De Jesus v. United States Department of Veterans Affairs, 479 F.3d 271 (3d Cir. 2006).

Contraception Coverage: Employers May Exclude Contraception Coverage from their Health Insurance Plans--Standridge v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, 479 F.3d 936 (8th Cir. 2007).

Abortion: Supreme Court Upholds Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act Against Facial Challenge--Gonzales v. Carhart (1)--The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, recently upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 ("Act"), (2) a statute that prohibits a person from "intentionally deliver[ing] a living fetus" past an anatomical landmark and then "performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus...." (3)

The Act bans a variation of a procedure known as a "D&E" or "dilation and evacuation" that is typically used in the second trimester of pregnancy. (4) Most abortions in this category require a physician to first dilate the patient's cervix and then make several passes in the uterus with forceps to extract all fetal material. (5) The banned version of this procedure involves a physician partially delivering the fetus intact until part of it passes the vagina, where it is then aborted. (6) Although popularly known as "partial-birth abortion," (7) this procedure is referred to as "intact D&E", "dilation and extraction" or "intact D&X" in the medical community. (8)

Congress had previously attempted to enact federal legislation banning partial-birth abortions, but President Clinton vetoed both efforts. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.