Partial-Birth Abortion Act
During the Clinton administration the Partial-Birth Abortion Act, a bill that would make it illegal in all of the United States for a partial-birth abortion to be performed, caused major debate throughout the House of Representatives and the Senate; recently different versions of the bill had been passed through the both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In prior years Clinton had vetoed similar bills to ban partial-birth abortions.
The House and Senate have passed somewhat different versions of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (S-1692), sponsored by Congressman Charles Canady (R-Fl.) and Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). This bill would place a national ban on partial-birth abortions.
President Clinton successfully vetoed similar bills in 1996 and 1998. When the Senate approved S.1692 last October, it was by a margin two votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.
The congressional bills are similar to a Nebraska law that was struck down by a five-justice majority of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 in the case of Stenberg v. carhart. After carefully examining that ruling, the leading sponsors of the bill decided that it would be more productive to focus on other pro-life bills for the remainder of this congressional session. (National Right to Life News, August 2000)
Partial-Birth Abortion is used after twenty weeks of pregnancy. The doctor pulls the baby out of the mother with forceps feet first and stops when the only thing remaining inside the mother is the babys head. The doctor then takes a pair of scissors and inserts them into the back of the neck of the child, spreads them apart and then proceeds to suction the brain of the child out of its head. The child is now no longer living and can be disposed of. Under current legislation the only factor that separates partial-birth abortion from homicide is the fact that the childs head remains inside the mother while the procedure is performed.
The Partial-Birth Abortion Act is not a bill to make abortion illegal just partial-birth abortions. Those who support this bill in the Senate are pro-life, while those who are trying to vote against the bill are pro-choice. Lobbyist and interest groups are hard at work fighting for what they believe will be the right decision in whether or not to implement the Partial-Birth Abortion Act.
Pro-Choice Activists feel that abortion is a womans choice; a womans body and her decisions involving it are up to her. Womans clinics similar to and including Planned Parenthood feel that woman need the option of the partial-birth abortion. Abortion, as defined by pro-choice activists, is the disposing of a fetus not the killing of a baby.
On the other side of the spectrum are Pro-Life Activists. These people believe it is not right for any type of abortion to take place in the United States. Even though the baby is inside the mother it is still a baby, a little life. Those who are Pro-Life feel that a life no matter how small is still a life and should not be killed. They are trying to take the voice of the baby, seeing as no one else has. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is the first step in doing this. Pro-Lifes followers believe alternate actions can be taken, such as adoption. And lets not forget the initial step in stopping unwanted pregnancies, birth control.
Birth control has been made widely available to all in the within the past decade, due to the nationwide push on safer sex. Currently you can walk into almost any clinic and receive free condoms, or low cost examinations and a decreased expense in filling of a prescription for birth control pills.
Besides the visible views of interest group activists the judiciary committee has seen its own share of partial-birth abortion arguments. Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin had bans on partial-birth abortion overturned. Two separate federal courts, the Seventh Circuit and the Eastern District of Michigan found that the bans were extremely similar to that which was struck down in Nebraska by the United States Supreme Court. The high court, in a 5–4 decision, held that Nebraskas partial-birth statute violated womens constitutional rights by imposing an undue burden on women