Abortion Takes Center Stage in Presidential Contest

President Clinton and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. Robert Dole debated Thursday (5-23) about late-term abortions. After Dole criticized Clinton’s veto of a late-term abortion ban, Clinton accused Dole of succumbing to political pressure on the issue and of disregarding the threats to women’s lives and health posed by the ban of the rare abortion procedure known as intact dilation and evacuation. In his rebuttal, Clinton referred to the five women who spoke at the veto-signing ceremony and who testified that the procedure was necessary for them to escape permanent physical disability. From Milwaukee, Clinton asked Dole, who had attacked the President’s morals (while speaking to Catholic newspaper editors in Philadephia), “What would Senator Dole say to those five women who stood up there with me?” Clinton continued, “I’m a little skeptical when politicians piously proclaim their morality. He has to answer to those five women.” The abortion ban would have allowed the procedure only to save the life of the woman, but not to protect her health or future fertility.


The New York Times - May 24, 1996

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