Senate Motion Moves Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Forward

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 17, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Motion Moves Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Forward

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 17, 2003

Washington, DC ( — The Senate unanimously passed a motion Wednesday moving the ban on partial-birth abortions forward.

With a 93-0 vote, senators agreed to move ahead with the conference committee necessary to complete work on the pro-life bill and send it to President Bush.

The bill stalled temporarily when pro-abortion senators refused to appoint members to a conference committee that would have worked out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The Senate bill contained a ceremonial provision endorsing Roe v. Wade and abortion advocates knew pro-life lawmakers would remove the amendment.

Led by pro-abortion Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), abortion advocates agreed to a compromise whereby the Senate would debate the bill for eight hours this week.

Pro-life groups say the unanimous vote to move the bill forward is ironic, because the motion does what pro-life lawmakers wanted to do in the first place.

"Senator Boxer made herself look silly by claiming that the 93-0 vote to go to conference represented a unanimous approval of the Harkin Amendment to endorse Roe v. Wade, since everybody knows that the conference committee will convene for the sole purpose of dropping the Harkin Amendment," explained Douglas Johnson, legislative director of National Right to Life.

Pro-life Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), sponsor of the ban in the House, said he would make sure the committee process finishes quickly.

"I am confident that the conference committee can complete it’s work rather quickly and send this vital legislation to the President for his signature," Chabot said.

Once the conference committee removes the pro-Roe amendment, both houses must approve the committee’s report. Then President Bush will sign the bill.

"Today’s vote moves us one step closer to ending the brutal partial-birth abortion procedure," said Cathleen Cleaver, Director of Planning and Information for the Pro-Life Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"It is noteworthy that this vote did not instruct conferees to keep the resolution approving of Roe v. Wade," Cleaver added. "Polls have consistently shown that most Americans reject most of the abortions that Roe permits."

None of the Democratic senators running for president were present to vote.