WASHINGTON, October 21, 2003 ( – The U.S. Senate gave final approval to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (S. 3) Tuesday afternoon on a vote of 64-34, clearing the measure for President Bush’s signature.  “In 2000, five Supreme Court justices said that Roe v. Wade guaranteed the right of abortionists to perform partial-birth abortions whenever they see fit— but Congress is now inviting the Supreme Court to re-examine that extreme and inhumane decision,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).  In the case of Stenberg v. Carhart in 2000, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court struck down a Nebraska law banning partial-birth abortions, holding that under Roe v. Wade an abortionist must be permitted to use the method, even on perfectly healthy women, if he thinks it is preferable to other methods.  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, and is expected to sign the bill as soon as possible.  A January Gallup poll found that 70 percent of the public favors the ban. The prime sponsors of the bill are Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio).  Several pro-abortion groups, including the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights, have said that they will challenge the ban in the federal courts.  NRLC’s Johnson said, “This litigation will pose the question: Does the Constitution really guarantee a right to deliver a premature infant to within inches of complete birth, and then kill her?”  See detailed National Right to Life Press Release on Today’s vote and the history of the partial birth abortion ban


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