WASHINGTON (October 2, 2002) -- With the Senate nearing the end of its current session, a spokeswoman for the Pro-Life Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is urging Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to bring H.R. 4965, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, to the Senate floor.
"The House has already passed this ban with broad bi-partisan support," said Cathy Cleaver, Director of Planning and Information for the Pro-Life Secretariat. "In the past, Senator Daschle has also voted in favor of similar legislation. We urge him to continue the support he has already shown for a real ban on partial-birth abortion, and bring this bill to the floor before the Senate recesses for the fall."
The bill's chief sponsor in the Senate, Rick Santorum, tried last week to bring the bill to the floor under a unanimous consent agreement, but failed when Senator Dianne Feinstein objected. Now, according to Senate rules, only the majority leader can determine if the bill goes to the floor or not.
The legislation addresses concerns cited by the Supreme Court in 2000 in Stenberg v. Carhart when it struck down a Nebraska state ban.
"The vast majority of Americans are appalled by partial-birth abortion," the USCCB official said. "It is barbaric in its treatment of unborn children, and poses numerous health risks to women. It has been rejected by the American Medical Association and condemned by doctors nationwide," she noted. "Recognizing the almost universal abhorrence of this gruesome procedure, Congress has twice before banned it. Congress should again do so, and send the bill to President Bush, who has vowed to sign it."