- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 31, 2008

RICHMOND (AP) - State Attorney General Bob McDonnell said yesterday he will seek a full hearing before a federal appeals court on a state law banning a form of late-term abortion ruled unconstitutional by a three-judge panel.

A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 last week that the state abortion law is unconstitutional, despite the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a similar federal ban.

Mr. McDonnell said he will ask the full court on Monday to review the decision.

“It is my belief that Virginia’s partial-birth abortion ban, passed overwhelmingly by the people’s elected representatives in the General Assembly, is constitutional,” Mr. McDonnell said.

He also cited the Supreme Court’s decision as part of the basis of his appeal.

In its May 20 ruling, the appeals court cited a key difference between the federal and state bans.

While the federal law protects doctors who set out to perform a legal abortion that by accident becomes the banned procedure, the state statute provides no such protection.

Judge M. Blane Michael wrote in the majority opinion that the Virginia law “imposes an undue burden on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.”

The court is expected to rule within two months on the request for a full review, Mr. McDonnell said.

The case is Richmond Medical Center v. Herring.

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