Bush Signs Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
by Steven Ertelt
November 5, 2003
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Before a crowd of more than 400 pro-life lawmakers and activists, President Bush signed into law the first federal ban on an abortion procedure since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
"For years, a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth, while the law looked the other way," Bush said at the signing event. "Today, at last, the American people and our government have confronted the violence and come to the defense of the innocent child."
"The best case against partial birth abortion is a simple description of what happens and to whom it happens. It involves the partial delivery of a live boy or girl, and a sudden, violent end of that life. Our nation owes its children a different and better welcome," Bush added.
Though the courts may overturn the ban, the American people have strongly supported the common sense limit on abortions.
A Gallup-CNN-USA Today poll conducted in late October found that among young adults (age 18-29), the ban is favored 77-19%, while older groups support it 68-25%.
Meanwhile, abortion advocates, led by the National Organization for Women, protested outside the building. They chanted, "We will remember in November."
"We won’t stand by silently as this administration attempts to erode our rights," NOW President Kim Gandy said. "Women’s rights activists across the country will be recommitting ourselves to keeping abortion safe, legal and accessible."
One leading Democratic presidential candidate also took issue with the pro-life legislation. Howard Dean, a former Vermont governor who served on the board of Planned Parenthood of New England, said Bush should not have signed the bill.
"This law will chill the practice of medicine and endanger the health of countless women," Dean claimed.
Congress has tried since 1995 to make a ban on partial-birth abortions law and twice former President Clinton vetoed the legislation.
The event took place at the Ronald Reagan building, named after the former President who was a strong supporter of the right to life.
Pro-life groups issued virtually unanimous praise for Bush on signing the legislation.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said: "Today I want to express my deep gratitude, and that of all the U.S. Catholic bishops, to President George W. Bush for signing into law a ban on one of the most inhumane procedures ever inflicted on a human child — partial-birth abortion."
"This is an incredible moment for anyone who recognizes that a civilized nation cannot allow an abortion procedure that takes the life of a child in the very process of being born," said Jennifer Bingham, Executive Director of the Susan B. Anthony List.
Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson added, "We applaud President Bush and Congress, and express our deepest appreciation, for enacting the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. Since this horrifying procedure became public almost a decade ago, the American people have shown a firm and unwavering resolve to ban it."
"President Bush did today what Bill Clinton should have done in 1996, ban a barbaric procedure that is nothing short of infanticide," said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
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Text of President Bush’s speech: