WASHINGTON, (March 17, 1997) -- The Executive Director of the Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities has urged Congress to support a ban on partial-birth abortion and to oppose all weakening amendments.
Gail Quinn wrote to all members of Congress in favor of H.R. 929, and the Senate version, S. 6, legislation which she said would ban "the inhumane procedure known as partial-birth abortion."
Noting that the abortion lobby based its arguments in support of partial-birth abortion on false information concerning the frequency and timing of the procedure, Ms Quinn said some members of Congress continue to rely on false claims and assumptions in re-introducing a proposal to ban abortions "after the fetus has become viable" except for "health" reasons.
But a ban only on abortions after the usual time of "viability" would have virtually no effect on partial-birth abortions, according to Ms. Quinn, since most of these procedures are performed in the fifth and sixth month of pregnancy.
"Moreover, the renewed proposal for a 'health' exception for infanticide rests on two false assumptions," she continued. "First is the assumption that the partial-birth procedure, which involves killing an infant during the process of birth, is bound by the constitutional limitations placed on abortion laws by the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions. That assumption is contradicted by the Roe opinion itself, which clearly disavowed any effort by the Court to protect the killing of partly-born children...The second is the assumption that maternal 'health' is somehow a meaningful or relevant medical term in this context."
"Even the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, long known for its support of abortion, now concedes what former U.S. surgeon general C. Everett Koop and hundreds of other medical experts have long insisted: There is no case in which the partial-birth abortion procedure is ever the only way to protect a woman's health or fertility," Ms. Quinn stated. "Even abortionists now admit that the technique poses its own serious risks to women."
"Members of Congress cannot plausibly invoke Supreme Court precedent on this issue," the NCCB official wrote. "A lawmaker's decision to support partial-birth abortion is an independent decision to extend the abortion 'liberty' beyond the womb to protect infanticide," she said. "The falsehoods brought forward to obscure this painful reality are as morally indefensible as the lethal procedure itself."