I said two nights ago I would post how the Partial Birth Abortion Ban helped the pro-life cause.
I wrote in 2003 it helped by converting Americans to the culture of life. I realize this is just theory, but here are reputable national polls dating back to when PBA was first nationally discussed in 1995:
[Polls moved to page 2]
Although a couple specific conclusions differ, long-term polls clearly show an American opinion shift on abortion. Was it due to the PBA revelations? I think so, at least in part.
On to specifics….

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Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family made two sound points in a June 7 column:

But when the Supreme Court handed down Carhart [PBA decision]… the court majority signaled that the special deal for abortion cases was coming to an end. The language in the opinion made it clear that from now on it will be nearly impossible for abortionists to run to federal court to block an abortion law before the ink is dry, in a facial challenge.
With this latest abortion decision, it looks like the Supreme Court is establishing a new paradigm for abortion cases. Although the lower federal courts in California and Nebraska had struck down the 2003 federal PBA ban via the typical “facial” challenge, the Supreme Court opinion held that “these facial attacks should not have been entertained in the first instance.” Only “as-applied” challenges should be entertained in the future in such cases, wrote Justice Kennedy in the majority opinion. That means abortion laws can only be challenged as to specific, actual situations that may come up – and if exceptions need to be judicially carved out of the law to solve those rare problems, the bulk of the law remains intact.
Undoubtedly, the Carhart decision will breathe new life into the passage of abortion-limiting laws around the country. And when those new laws are passed, they’ll stay on the books and they’ll be enforced, and lives will be saved because of Carhart….
Carhart was significant for yet another reason. The court acknowledged for the first time since 1973 that an abortion procedure could be prohibited because of “ethical and moral concerns,” including the observation that “some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained.”
By accepting and defending Congress’s right to base an abortion law on moral concerns, the Court punctured the hot air balloon that has carried the abortionists’ lie since 1973 – that a preborn baby is a blob of tissue that the mother needn’t think about in human terms…. Pro-lifers have been waiting a long time to hear such moral concerns validated in a Supreme Court opinion.

Dan McConchie of Americans United for Life listed what pro-lifers got from the PBA decision in a speech I recently attended, some overlapping Minnery’s points:

  • Restored guidelines from Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which is deferential to state legislation
  • Reinforced importance of informed consent. Kennedy wrote something unprecedented in a Supreme Court decision:

    The State has an interest in ensuring so grave a choice is well informed. It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know: that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain of her unborn child, a child assuming the human form.

  • Narrowed the unlimited health exception from Doe. v. Bolton, which created a wide health definition. In the pba decision, the Court stated it now has to be of a substantial nature
  • Implied the Court will not support human cloning.
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