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This is a press
release from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington,
D.C., issued Thursday, March 13, 2003, at 10:30 a.m. ET. For further
information, visit the NRLC website at
http://www.nrlc.org, call 202-626-8820, or send e-mail to
March 10, 2003 press conference on Capitol Hill, NRLC Legislative
Director Douglas Johnson shows reporters an illustration of a
partial-birth abortion, as Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), prime Senate
sponsor of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, looks on.
(NRLC photo by Patricia Coll.)
Passes Ban on Partial-Birth Abortion,
33 Senators Vote Against the Ban, Saying Roe v. Wade Protects Partial-Birth
WASHINGTON (March 13, 2003) – By a lopsided margin of 64-33, the U.S.
Senate today passed a bill to ban the practice of partial-birth abortion
nationwide. The ban, twice vetoed by President Bill Clinton, is strongly
supported by President George W. Bush. It now goes to the House of
Representatives, which last year approved the ban by a nearly two-to-one
During this week’s debate in the Senate, opponents of the ban argued that
the bill violates two U.S. Supreme Court rulings -- Roe v. Wade, the 1973
ruling that legalized abortion on demand, and Stenberg v. Carhart, a 2000
decision in which five justices held that Roe v. Wade covers even
"President Bush, 70 percent of the public, 64 senators, and four Supreme
Court justices say there is no constitutional right to deliver most of a
living baby and then puncture her head with a scissors," said Douglas
Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee
(NRLC). "But five Supreme Court justices said that partial-birth abortion
is protected by Roe v. Wade, and 33 senators agreed. We hope that by the
time this ban reaches the Supreme Court, at least five justices will be
willing to reject such extremism in defense of abortion."
The bill (S. 3) legally defines a partial-birth abortion as any abortion in
which the baby is delivered "past the navel . . . outside the body of the
mother" before being killed. It is well documented that partial-birth
abortions are performed by the thousands, mostly on healthy babies of
healthy mothers in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy, and sometimes
even later. (See documentation at
http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/index.html . The bill would allow the
method if it was ever necessary to save a mother's life.
On January 22, President Bush called partial-birth abortion an "abhorrent
procedure that offends human dignity." He also urged Congress to pass the
ban in his January 28 State of the Union speech. A January Gallup poll
found that 70 percent of the public favors the ban.
For details on the current congressional situation, recently reported
statistics on partial-birth abortion, and other up-to-date information, see
the memo "Recent Developments on Partial-Birth Abortion," on the NRLC
website at http://www.nrlc.org. The
website also contains extensive documentation on all disputed issues
surrounding partial-birth abortion, recent White House statements on the
issue, and expert-certified color illustrations of the method that were
recently made available to NRLC, at
Click on the animated image above
the individual illustrations enlarged.
Images used courtesy of Heathers Place