The New York Times reports that United States District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton ruled the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act unconstitutional:
In a 117-page decision, the judge, Phyllis J. Hamilton, ruled the law unconstitutional on three grounds, saying that it placed an undue burden on women seeking abortions, that its language was unconstitutionally vague and that it lacked a required exception for procedures needed to preserve the woman's health.
The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was passed by Congress last October. Three lawsuits were brought challenging the law before it was even signed by President Bush.
Today's decision was the first final ruling in the three lawsuits. Both the Nebraska and New York cases are still pending.
According to the Times:
The California case was brought by Planned Parenthood and its local affiliate. They were later joined as plaintiffs by the city and county of San Francisco. The ruling applies to them and to their employees and members, wherever they perform abortions. Judge Hamilton declined to issue a nationwide injunction in deference to the Nebraska and New York courts.
The 2003 federal law is in many ways similar to a Nebraska law struck down by the Supreme Court in 2000, and today's decision did not surprise legal experts. Groups opposing abortion said today that they hoped the new cases will give the Supreme Court an opportunity to reconsider its decision.
If you are interested Judge Hamilton's decision can be accessed here as a pdf file.
I am surprised that it took this long for a decision. The government had asked for a speedy review of the law. That request was made in the New York case.