WASHINGTON, September 30, 2003 ( – The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (S. 3) will advance in Congress this week, with final approval possible from at least one house by week’s end.  Both houses approved the legislation earlier this year by about two-to-one margins.  The only substantive difference between the House and Senate versions is the Harkin Amendment, an expression of support for Roe v. Wade, which was narrowly adopted in the Senate.  A House-Senate conference committee is expected to convene on Tuesday, September 30, to produce a “clean” bill—without the Harkin Amendment—which will then receive a final vote in both houses.  The bill represents the first direct national restriction on any method of abortion since the Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand in 1973. President Bush urged Congress to pass the ban in his January 28 State of the Union speech.  A January Gallup poll found that 70 percent of the public favours the ban.  The prime sponsors of the bill are Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio).  NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson commented, “President Bush, 70 percent of the public, and four Supreme Court justices say there is no constitutional right to deliver most of a living baby and then puncture her head with a scissors.  But in the Stenberg v. Carhart ruling in 2000, five Supreme Court justices said that Roe v. Wade guarantees an abortionist’s right to perform a partial-birth abortion whenever he chooses.  We hope that by the time this ban reaches the Supreme Court, at least five justices will be willing to reject such extremism in defense of abortion.”

Further details on the bill are provided in a memo titled “Recent Developments on Partial-Birth Abortion,” here:


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