Below is the news release issued earlier this morning by Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell concerning his decision to appeal the 2-1 ruling earlier this month by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down Virginia's partial birth abortion ban. 

McDonnell Announces Virginia to Petition for Rehearing of Partial-Birth Abortion Case by Full Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

-Move Follows Divided Panel Decision by Same Court Striking down Virginia's Partial-Birth Abortion Ban-

Richmond - Attorney General Bob McDonnell announced today that the Commonwealth of Virginia will ask the full Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision of a divided panel of the court that struck down Virginia's ban on partial-birth abortion.

Speaking about the decision, Attorney General McDonnell noted, "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. Given the significance of the issues at stake, and the fact that the United States Supreme Court recently upheld a very similar federal ban on the procedure, the full court should review the ruling by the divided three-judge panel."

On May 20th a three-judge panel of the Court ruled 2-1 against the Commonwealth's partial-birth abortion ban, passed by the General Assembly in 2003. Following this decision the Commonwealth had two options in proceeding: petition for a rehearing by the full Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, or appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The petition for rehearing by the full Fourth Circuit will be filed on Monday, June 2, 2008. The Court is expected to rule in approximately a month or two on whether the full court will review the case on the merits. If it does, it will schedule oral argument, most likely in the fall. The case is titled Richmond Medical Center v. Herring.

We applaud this very appropriate and reasoned appeal to this horrendous decision by the U.S. Fourth Circuit panel which trashes the rights of the most vulnerable and innocent among us; and which lacks deference to the overwhelming will of Virginians through its elected legislature (more than two-thirds of each General Assembly chamber), as well as to the Constitution of the United States as interpreted by the Supreme Court of the United States, which upheld a similar law.