WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 5, 2003 (Zenit.org).- U.S. President George Bush signed legislation banning partial-birth abortions, a law long sought by pro-lifers and overwhelmingly approved by Congress.
“The best case against partial birth abortion is a simple description of what happens and to whom it happens,” Bush said at the signing today.
“It involves the partial delivery of a live boy or girl, and a sudden, violent end of that life. Our nation owes its children a different and better welcome,” he said. “The bill I am about to sign protecting innocent new life from this practice reflects the compassion and humanity of America.”
Bush added: “The facts about partial birth abortion are troubling and tragic, and no lawyer’s brief can make them seem otherwise.”
Less than an hour after the signing, U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf in Nebraska issued a temporary restraining order citing concerns that the law did not contain an exception for preserving the health of the woman seeking the abortion, the Associated Press said. Kopf stopped short of prohibiting the new law from being enforced nationwide.
As he signed the ban, Bush said: “For years, a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth while the law looked the other way. Today at last the American people and our government have confronted the violence and come to the defense of the innocent child.”
Aware of the impending legal obstacles, the U.S. president said: “The executive branch will vigorously defend this law against any who would try to overturn it in the courts.”
His predecessor, President Bill Clinton, twice vetoed similar bills, arguing that they lacked an exception to protect the health of the mother.
The law prohibits doctors from committing an “overt act” designed to kill a partially delivered fetus. The procedure involves puncturing the fetus’ skull with scissors.
The new law imposes the most far-reaching limits of their kind since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, in a statement said: “President Bush did today what Bill Clinton should have done in 1996, ban a barbaric procedure that is nothing short of infanticide. The view of the American people on this issue has been clear for years and Washington is finally catching up with public opinion.”