WASHINGTON, (March 11, 1997) -- In Congressional testimony, an official of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) said the truth about the partial-birth abortion procedure, the method itself, and its elective nature is all that is needed to make the case for abolishing the practice.
Helen Alvare of the NCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities testified (March 11) before the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, with the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, in favor of S.6 and H.R. 929, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
She noted that the Catholic Bishops' Conference has been engaged in the effort to ban partial-birth abortions since the legislative debate began, and that the educational materials distributed by the Conference have been truthful. Ms. Alvare said recent revelations that partial-birth procedures were being performed on healthy children of healthy mothers in numbers far greater than those claimed by various abortion advocacy groups have embarrassed those groups and caused them to adopt new tactics including, in some cases, attacks upon the Catholic Church.
"The Conference of Catholic Bishops has participated in many public debates regarding different aspects of abortion for decades," Ms. Alvare stated. "We would be hard pressed to find one in which the level of deception and insult by pro-abortion groups has reached such a fever pitch. All we ask as this debate over partial-birth abortions continues, is that it proceed based upon the truth. For the truth about this procedure, the method itself and its elective nature, is all that is needed to make the case for abolishing it."
Ms. Alvare's testimony came four days after the U.S. Cardinals and the President of the NCCB, Bishop Anthony M. Pilla of Cleveland, wrote to President Clinton urging him to stop partial-birth abortions. The Congress voted a ban on partial-birth abortions last year but the President vetoed the legislation.
"Mr. President, you are in a unique position to ensure respect for all human rights, including the right to life which is denied to infants who are brutally killed in partial-birth abortion," the letter said. "We urge you to seize the opportunity before you to explain that you were misled, as were most Americans. We urge you to ask Congress to pass a bill banning partial-birth abortions, and let it be known that you will sign it into law. For our part, we will continue to urge that such a bill is passed in both Houses of Congress with sufficient votes to ensure that it will become the law of the land."