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4th Circuit to review partial-birth abortion case

The full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will review the constitutionality of Virginia’s law barring partial-birth abortions.

The case has along history that began with the adoption of the law by the General Assembly in 2003. A physician and a Richmond abortion clinic filed suit challenging the law, and 4th Circuit Judges M. Blane Michael and Diana Gribbon Motz found it unconstitutional in 2005, with Judge Paul V. Niemeyer dissenting.

The U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case to the 4th Circuit after concluding in 2007 while the Virginia case was on appeal that a similar federal law was constitutional. The same 4th Circuit panel, by the same vote, in May once again found the Virginia law to be unconstitutional.

Today, the 4th Circuit issued an order saying “[a] majority of judges in regular active service and not disqualified” had voted to grant en banc review. The order did reflect the votes of the individual judges or disclose the actual vote.

The court set argument in the case for the week of Oct. 18.

By Alan Cooper

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