Senate Debates Abortion and Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 15, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Debates Abortion and Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 15, 2003

Washington, DC ( — The U.S. Senate today debated abortion and the partial-birth abortion ban that pro-life lawmakers are trying to get to President Bush.

Though the House and Senate have already passed the bill, the debate became necessary when pro-abortion senators refused to appoint a member to a conference committee that would meet and work out the differences between the bills.

The Senate version of the ban contains an amendment endorsing the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

The conference committee, which will be controlled by pro-life lawmakers, is expected to remove that amendment prior to sending the bill to the president.

In a compromise reached by both sides, abortion advocates won approval of an eight hour debate on the bill. Once that concludes, a conference committee member is expected to be appointed, the amendment will be removed, and both chambers will be required to approve the committee’s report before Bush can sign the bill.

Though the Senate took up the debate today, only pro-abortion speakers came to the floor.

Pro-abrotion Sen. Barbara Boxer, who controlled the time for her side, said abortion advocates in the Senate "want the [Supreme] court to understand that we are firmly pro-Roe."

Boxer said the Roe endorsement was amended into the bill because "when they take a look at outlawing this procedure and see there is no exception for the health of the woman, they will overturn the bill."

She indicated abortion advocates will take the bill to court as soon as it is signed into law.

In praising the 1973 abortion decision, Boxer said it was necessary to curb the number of deaths from illegal abortions. She claimed on several occasions that "when the court decided Roe, maybe 5,000 women a year" died from botched abortions prior to the Roe decision.

That’s not the case according to a doctor who was the director of the nation’s largest pro-abortion group at the time.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson admits that he and others in the early pro-abortion movement intentionally fabricated the number of women who allegedly died as a result of illegal abortions.

"We generally emphasized the drama of the individual case, not the mass statistics, but when we spoke of the latter it was always ‘5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year,’" Nathanson said.

"I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of the revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics. The overriding concern was to get the [pro-life] laws eliminated, and anything within reason which had to be done was permissible," Nathanson added.

Boxer also repeated the mantra abortion advocates have used against the ban by saying partial-birth abortions are necessary to protect the life and health of the mother.

"We have been working with physicians across the country and I want to tell you what they have told us in writing … there are serious health consequences."

Boxer said the situations resulting in a "need" for a partial-birth abortion included, "hemorrhage, ruptured uterus, blood clots, embolism, stroke, damage to nearby organs, paralysis, and more."

Yet, according to the Elliot Institute, research has shown those detrimental medical conditions result from abortions, not indicate that abortions are medically necessary.

"National statistics on abortion show that 10% of women undergoing induced abortion suffer from immediate complications, of which one-fifth (2%) were considered major," according to the organization.

The Senate has planned to begin the next part of the debate Tuesday, and some six hours are tentatively scheduled. Pro-life lawmakers are expected to control the next set of time in the debate and each side has four hours.

Related web sites:

Elliot Institute on abortion complications