Late-Term Abortion Ban Passes with Veto Expected

In a paradoxical pair of votes, the Senate yesterday approved a bill to restrict late-term abortion and passed a referendum endorsing the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision as “an important constitutional right.”

The restriction on late-term abortion would make it a felony for a physician to employ the procedure unless it is “necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by physical disorder, illness or injury.” President Clinton is expected to veto the bill.

Pro-choice advocates argue that the issue of late-term (so called “partial birth”) abortion is a fabrication by anti-choice Republicans, “a smoke screen to mask an assault on abortion rights of all kinds.” The procedure is in reality a rare one, in most cases done only when a live birth will cause extreme suffering either to the fetus or the mother.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) called the referendum on Roe v. Wade in order to reveal Republicans’ anti-choice views. In fact, 45 of 54 Republican Senators voted not to endorse Roe v. Wade, despite the fact that the Supreme Court decision has extremely widespread public support.


Washington Post and Nando Times - October 21, 1999

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