Cardinal Urges Senate to Drop Pro-Roe Provision

Amendment Attached to Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

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WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 15, 2003 ( Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua has urged the U.S. Senate to work toward final approval of the partial-birth abortion ban — but without an amendment that expresses support for Roe v. Wade.

«The one remaining obstacle to enactment of this much-needed legislation is an extraneous ‘sense of the Senate’ provision added on the Senate floor,» the cardinal wrote in a letter to Senators last week.

«This resolution declares that the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 ‘was appropriate,’ ‘secures an important constitutional right,’ and ‘should not be overturned,'» he said.

The cardinal, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, explained why «central claims in the resolution are question-begging and false, even in the eyes of judges and legal scholars who favor the public policy created by Roe.»

Most Americans and 30 state legislatures favor putting an end to the killing of almost-born children, but they have been thwarted by courts invoking Roe, the cardinal said. He also asserted that Americans are increasingly declaring themselves pro-life.

«In a representative democracy, our elected representatives in Congress cannot ignore these developments indefinitely,» he declared. «Here and now, they should not continue to delay a long-awaited ban on the brutal killing of children emerging from the womb, by insisting on an endorsement of the very court decision that has led some in our society to practice and defend such killing.»

The Senate’s amendment praising Roe v. Wade is the only difference between the versions of the partial-birth abortion ban passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. They must resolve this difference before sending the ban to President George W. Bush for his signature.

Previous versions of the ban were twice approved by Congress but vetoed by President Bill Clinton.

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