U.S. Senate Backs Ban on Partial-Birth Abortion

Legislation Heads to House with Bipartisan Support

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WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 13, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. Senate easily approved a bill to ban the partial-birth abortion, a ban twice vetoed by Bill Clinton but strongly supported by President George W. Bush.

The measure was approved by a bipartisan 64-33 vote. Among its supporters was Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the Democratic leader.

The bill now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives, which last year supported the ban by a nearly 2-1 margin.

During this week’s debate in the Senate, foes of the ban argued that the bill violates two U.S. Supreme Court rulings — Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion on demand, and Stenberg v. Carhart, in which five justices held that Roe covers even partial-birth abortions.

In a statement after today’s vote, Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, said: “President Bush, 70% 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.”

“But five Supreme Court justices said that partial-birth abortion is protected by Roe v. Wade, and 33 senators agreed,” Johnson said. “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 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.

“This is a heinous act,” said Senator Michael DeWine, an Ohio Republican, according to the Associated Press. “It is immoral. It is wrong and it is simply something a civilized society should not tolerate.”

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