Senator Trent Lott (R-MS), who will lead the Repblican majority in the Senate, made it clear that his top priority is limiting women’s right to choose by passing anti-abortion legislation. He told the Washington Post last week that he fully intended to pass a ban on so-called “partial-birth” abortion. The House passed this bill in July.
The phrase “partial-birth” abortion is an inaccurate and inflammatory term invented by the right wing. “Partial birth” abortion does not refer to any particular medical procedure and the term is not recognized in the medical community, according to the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Abortion procedure bans such as these aim to outlaw or significantly chip away at a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal medical procedure. The House bill does not include exceptions for the health of the mother, despite the fact that the US Supreme Court overturned a similar Nebraska ban in Steinburg v. Carhart, citing the lack of a health exception. The right-wing Family Research Council has a poll on its website, in which site visitors ranked the anti-abortion bill as the second most important issue facing the new Congress.
According to the Post, other anti-abortion bills on the Republican agenda in the Senate include a ban on embryonic and human cloning, even for research purposes; the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which attempts to give a fetus personhood; the Child Custody Protection Act, which makes it illegal to transport a minor to another state for an abortion to avoid parental notification laws; and the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, which allow health care providers to refuse to perform abortions, offer abortion training or provide medically accurate information about abortions and still receive federal funding. These bills have all already been passed by the House, and they are all opposed by the Feminist Majority and other pro-choice and women’s rights organizations because they all limit women’s access to abortion. Bush has indicated his support for most if not all of these bills, and he will certainly sign the “partial-birth” abortion ban if it passes in the Senate, according to the Post.