Virginia Catholic Conference Executive Director Jeff Caruso issued the following statement in reaction to the 2-1 decision to strike down Virginia's partial-birth abortion ban by a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals:

I cannot imagine that protecting the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion is what our country's Founders had in mind when they crafted our Constitution over 200 years ago. Yet, somehow two judges have found a way to declare Virginia's ban on the procedure unconstitutional, and to thereby thwart  — at least for now  — the clear and common sense of our state's citizens that a child who is almost entirely born should never be the victim of this brutal practice. I certainly hope a higher court will remedy the grave harm done by the 4th Circuit panel.

The Virginia Catholic Conference represents the public-policy interests of the Commonwealth's Catholic bishops and their two dioceses. There are 633,220 registered Catholics in Virginia: 413,360 in the Diocese of Arlington and 219,860 in the Diocese of Richmond.