Senate Passes Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, Bush’s Signature Expected

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 21, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Passes Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, Bush’s Signature Expected

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 21, 2003

Washington, DC ( — On Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Senate passed the final version of the ban on partial-birth abortions and will be sending it to President Bush, who is expected to sign the bill promptly. The vote marks the first time in the eight years since the abortion procedure began receiving national attention, that an approved ban will go to a president who has committed to signing it.

Members of the Senate voted 64-34 in favor a conference report containing the final version of the bill.

Both the House and Senate previously approved the pro-life legislation, but the Senate version contained a ceremonial resolution supporting the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. A conference committee removed that provision from the bill.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said passage of the bill marked a "very sad day for the women of America."

"For the first time in history, the Senate is about to ban a medical procedure without making an exception for the health of the woman," Boxer said.

Not so, said pro-life Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who cited a recent survey conducted by the pro-abortion Center for the Advancement of Women that found a majority of women are pro-life and support pro-life legislation.

"That survey found that 51 percent of women who are supposed to be offended by a ban on this procedure wanted to end abortion altogether or limit abortion to cases of rape, incest or when the woman’s life is in danger," Sessions said.

Once President Bush signs the bill, the battle will shift from Congress to the Supreme Court.

"In 2000, five Supreme Court justices said that Roe v. Wade guaranteed the right of abortionists to perform partial-birth abortions whenever they see fit — but Congress is now inviting the Supreme Court to re-examine that extreme and inhumane decision," said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.

The bill represents the first direct national restriction on any method of abortion since the Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand in 1973.

Abortion advocates have promised to take the bill to court immediately after President Bush signs it into law.

Regarding anticipated legal challenges to the bill, Johnson said, "This litigation will pose the question: Does the Constitution really guarantee a right to deliver a premature infant to within inches of complete birth, and then kill her?"

The House of Representatives previously passed the final version of the bill by a 282-141 vote.

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