Major attack launched against women's right to abortion

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Fri Mar 14 08:15:18 MST 2003


The drive toward war is spurring ever-broader attacks on democratic rights.
The administration's aim is to interpret this measure as broadly as possible
and to obtain court decisions that overturn or effectively gut Roe v. Wade.

How many abortions, one wonders, will they be performing from the air in
Baghdad, Basra and other Iraqi cities -- although not for the wicked
feminist reason of protecting the health and well-being of the woman?  The
gross hypocrisy of the warmakers talk about the sacredness of life,  will
not stop the war against women's rights without massive and broader protests
around this issue than ever before.
Fred Feldman

New York Times, March 14
Lopsided Vote in Senate to Ban Type of Abortion (excerpt)
By CARL HULSE


ASHINGTON, March 13 - Opponents of abortion today won their first major
victory since Republicans took control of Congress when senators voted
overwhelmingly to outlaw a procedure that has been at the center of the
abortion debate for the past eight years.

With significant Democratic backing, the Senate voted 64 to 33 to approve a
Republican-sponsored measure that would prohibit doctors from performing the
procedure that opponents have named partial-birth abortion. The House is
expected to take up and pass a similar measure as early as next month.

President Bush welcomed the Senate action, promising to sign a measure he
called "an important step toward building a culture of life in America."

The authors of the proposal, which had passed Congress twice only to be
vetoed by President Bill Clinton, said they were nearing the end of a
political and legislative push begun in 1995 to write a prohibition against
the procedure into federal law.

Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania and the chief sponsor of
the ban, said, "The United States Senate went on record very strongly in
support of banning an evil, heinous procedure that is outside the bounds of
medicine and outside the bounds of Roe v. Wade," the 1973 Supreme Court
ruling that legalized abortion.

Advocates of abortion rights, who promised to challenge the
constitutionality of the the ban if it became law, said the measure was a
significant erosion of women's ability to obtain abortions legally. They
said it was also a clear demonstration of the heightened power of opponents
of abortion with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress.

"The passage of this legislation demonstrates how devastating the elections
of 2002 were in giving control of the Senate to antichoice leadership," said
Kate Michelman, president of Naral Pro-Choice America. "Now women have no
firewall between them and those who want to take away the right to choose."

Doctors who perform the procedure, which they call intact dilation and
extraction, typically deliver the lower part of a fetus and then collapse
its head, opponents say. They call the practice barbaric and say it poses a
risk to women. Opponents of a ban say the procedure is rarely used but, on
occasion, medically necessary. They also said the ban could apply to other,
more common, types of abortions.

The vote today was not much different from the 63-to-34 vote that approved
the ban the last time the Senate considered it, in 1999, when Mr. Clinton
was president. Last year, when the House approved the ban with Mr. Bush in
office, the Democratic leadership of the Senate did not schedule the
proposal for a vote.

"Times have changed," said Representative Steve Chabot, Republican of Ohio
and a chief advocate of the measure in the House.

Though the Supreme Court ruled a similar law in Nebraska unconstitutional in
2000, partly because it failed to include an exception to protect a pregnant
woman's health, Senate and House sponsors believe they have solved that
legal problem by including Congressional findings that the procedure is
never warranted for health reasons.

"Partial-birth abortion is simply never medically indicated," said Senator
Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio, who helped write the current bill.

The bill includes an exception when the life of the pregnant woman is
threatened.




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