WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court justices Wednesday sharply questioned attorneys on both sides of the legal battle over so-called partial birth abortions as the high court weighed whether to uphold Congress's ban on the procedure.
In an intense morning of arguments, lawyers for the Bush administration and supporters of abortion rights gave starkly contrasting views the medical procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion. A law passed by Congress labels it a gruesome and inhumane practice. Supporters argue that such late-term abortions sometimes are the safest for women.
A man in the audience began shouting midway through the proceedings, disrupting the hearing briefly before security guards dragged from the premises.
Before that incident, Chief Justice John Roberts joined Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, Stephen Breyer and John Paul Stevens in questioning whether the court should defer to congressional findings that these late-term abortions are never medically necessary. Proponents disagree, saying there is strong medical evidence to the contrary.