WASHINGTON (May 20, 1997) -- Helen Alvare of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement after the Senate voted today to ban partial-birth abortion. The Senate vote was 64-36, three votes short of the two- thirds majority needed to override an expected veto by President Clinton.
"Today's Senate vote on partial-birth abortion reflects our nation's moral consensus that this barbaric procedure has no place in a civilized society. Still, we are dismayed at the number of Senators who continue to support partial-birth abortion, relying on claims decisively rejected by the medical community."
"The argument used by President Clinton, that partial-birth abortion can be necessary to protect a mother's health has no medical support. There is no principled argument, no medical pretense for supporting partial-birth abortion. We urge the President to sign the ban into law."