The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday afternoon upheld, by a 6-5 vote, Virginia's long sought ban on partial birth abortion. The law, passed in 2003, has been blocked by federal courts ever since — despite the fact that the law, as written, is substantially similar to a federal ban upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. However, despite this important and legally significant victory, this just law could face one more hurdle as pro-abortion-at-any-cost advocates consider an appeal to the highest court in the land. Our hope is that the Supreme Court won't agree to hear the case because of its decision last year, and since retiring Justice David Souter voted in the minority in that case, whoever replaces him would not change the court's opinion.

That leaves us celebrating the 4th Circuit's decision! It's truly a great day.

The memories of the federal courtroom the last two Octobers — in 2007, for the 4th Circuit three-judge panel's hearing that eventually ruled the law unconstitutional, then last year's full court hearing that resulted in yesterday's opinion — and are still vivid. The lawyer from the Center for Reproductive Rights made her case by arguing that, should the Virginia statute be upheld as constitutional, her abortionist client could potentially face prosecution. During the course of her explanation, she actually described a potential situation in which the doctor fully delivers the child, who is then separated from the mother, and placed on a nearby table . . . to "expire."

Not, die. "Expire." Born alive, left to die. That's what we mean by abortion at any cost.

The coldness of that statement, and the complete lack of compassion for human beings in their most vulnerable stage, were palpable in that room.  These are people who advocate for the killing of children — fully developed children — only days from birth. Thank God the majority of the court rejected their argument.

All pro-life Virginians owe a debt of gratitude to Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), the original patron of the legislation, for his passionate advocacy for the unborn on this issue; as well as to former Attorney General Bob McDonnell for continuing the appeals process after two Fourth Circuit panels ruled the statute unconstitutional, and to the office of Attorney General for its skilled defense of the law throughout the process.