Partial-Birth Abortion Ban "One Step Closer" After Panel's OK

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 27, 2003 ( A U.S. bishops’ spokeswoman hailed the House Judiciary Committee’s passage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

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The bill is now in position for a vote on the House floor, and is expected to pass by a wide margin. The Senate passed a similar ban earlier this month, and President George W. Bush has vowed to sign it into law.

“The ban is one step closer to becoming the first federal law limiting abortion since Roe v. Wade,” said Cathleen Cleaver, spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, after Wednesday’s 19-11 vote.

The Constitution Subcommittee held a hearing at which legal and medical experts presented testimony supporting the constitutionality of the bill and explaining the health risks to women from these abortions. In addition, Dr. Mark Neerhof, an OB-GYN expert, testified that this procedure is “excruciatingly painful” for the unborn child.

“According to Dr. Neerhof, partial-birth abortion exposes the unborn human to levels of pain that would fail the federal standards for humane treatment of animals in medical research,” Cleaver said. “It is unconscionable that women and children have been made to suffer so needlessly from this procedure.”

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