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November 2003



Vows to "vigorously defend" law in court

President Bush Signs
Historic Ban on
Partial-Birth Abortions


By Dave Andrusko

Editor's note: As we went to press, the federal Department of Justice on November 10, 2003, urged a federal district judge in New York to adopt expedited procedures in reviewing a legal challenge to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. The Department asked the judge to "consolidate" two usually separate steps: A hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction against the law (filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the National Abortion Federation), and a full trial on the merits on any factual issues pertaining to the law.

If the judge grants the government's request, it would result in a trial in four months - - far faster than the year or more that would be common under non-expedited procedures.

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson commented, "We commend the Bush Administration for pushing for expedited judicial review, in order to allow the ban on the brutal partial-birth abortion method to take effect as soon as possible. Every day that passes is another day that premature infants, mostly in the fifth and sixth months, will be mostly delivered alive before being painfully killed by the puncturing of their skulls and the removal of their brains."

Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), the prime Senate sponsor of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, celebrated the President's signature with NRLC President Wanda Franz. Ph.D.

On October 31, the U.S. Senate gave final approval to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, 64-34.



By Burke J. Balch, J.D., Director,
NRLC's Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics

As NRL News goes to press, the key senators and representatives meeting as a conference committee to produce a bill adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare had not yet definitely decided whether older Americans will be permitted to use their own money to choose unmanaged, unrationed coverage.

If the bill reported from conference committee confirms the right of senior citizens to use their own money to save their own lives, both in regard to prescription drug coverage and for medical care in general, it will represent a substantial victory in the fight to prevent what amounts to involuntary euthanasia in the retirement years.

In a number of countries - - including one of our two closest neighbors, Canada - - the government effectively sets limits, based on its own budgets and tax revenues, on what can be spent to save lives through medical care. Citizens are literally prohibited from using their own money to save their own lives.






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From the President

Wanda Franz, Ph.D.


Instead of an extended commentary, let me just give you a sampling of reports and opinion on the momentous events of recent weeks. Mostly, they speak for themselves.

* October 21, 2003 - - a date to remember

The Senate on Tuesday [10/21/03] voted [64 to 34] to ban the practice that critics call partial-birth abortion, sending President Bush a measure that supporters and foes alike said could alter the future of U.S. abortion rights.

"This is an enormous day. It's been a long seven-year fight about the issue of partial-birth abortion," said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. He was a leader of the drive to end abortions, generally carried out in the second or third trimester, in which a fetus is partially delivered before being killed. [Note that the word "killed" is actually used in describing an abortion.]

-AP wire story, 10/21/03 (on "Senate votes to ban abortion practice")

Complete NRL News
2003 Subject Index

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