WASHINGTON (July 10, 2002) -- A spokeswoman for the Pro-Life Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops praised the House Subcommittee on the Constitution for conducting a hearing on the newly-introduced ban on partial-birth abortion, H.R. 4965.
"Americans will not rest as long as partial-birth abortions occur in this country," said Cathleen A. Cleaver, Esq., Director of Planning and Information for the USCCB's Secretariat for Pro-life Activities. "Yesterday's hearing confirms the truth about partial-birth abortion: there is never any medical reason to turn to this barbarous procedure. Partial-birth abortion is performed at 20 weeks' gestational age and beyond, and neurological evidence has confirmed that it is a 'dreadfully painful' experience for the unborn child. What's more, it presents a threat to the health of women who mistakenly believe it is a good choice."
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced his bill in response to a 2000 Supreme Court ruling overturning a Nebraska ban on partial-birth abortion. The Stenberg v. Carhart decision was based on a factually inaccurate conclusion from a lower court judge -- that the partial-birth abortion procedure might be the safest abortion method in some circumstances. This conclusion is disputed by most in the medical profession, including the American Medical Association, which concluded that partial-birth abortion is "bad medicine" and "never medically indicated." Chabot's bill presents new factual findings about the procedure and a more detailed description.
More than half the states have enacted laws to ban partial-birth abortion, and polls consistently show that the overwhelming majority of Americans (70 percent and more) support a ban. Dr. Curtis Cook, a medical expert at yesterday's hearing, testified that partial-birth abortion is a "rogue procedure with no role in medical practice."
"Several years have passed since partial-birth abortion first came to the public's notice, and despite intensive efforts by the abortion lobby it is still not embraced by the medical community," Cleaver said. "We urge the House to quickly move to final passage of H.R. 4965."