WASHINGTON (May 13, 1997) — Cardinal Bernard Law has urged the Senate to ban "the inhumane partial-birth abortion procedure" and to oppose substitute proposals and weakening amendments.
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bill to ban the partial-birth abortion procedure on March 20. The Senate is expected to debate and vote on the bill this week.
Cardinal Law is Chairman of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities.
In a letter sent to each member of the Senate, the Cardinal noted that Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota may offer a substitute bill which claims to prohibit post-viability abortions subject to certain "health" exceptions.
It is doubtful, said Cardinal Law, that the Daschle proposal would have any impact on the thousands of partial-birth procedures performed each year. This is so, he explained, because most partial-birth abortions are performed in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy, not after viability, and because any 'health' exception will be subject to broad interpretation.
"Organizations determined to protect all abortions, and now infanticide, insist that the killing of partly-born children must be available to preserve a woman's health or fertility," Cardinal Law wrote. "Such assertions, however, rest on ideological, not medical foundations. The incontrovertible fact is that no condition of mother or child requires killing the child by the brutal partial-birth method."