WASHINGTON (March 10, 2003) -- Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua urged the Senate today to support the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and to oppose substitute amendments that might weaken it.
The proposed legislation, S. 3, forbids a particularly cruel procedure which ends the lives of children when they are inches away from birth, Cardinal Bevilacqua noted.
The Senate is expected to take up S. 3 this week.
The Cardinal is Chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
In his letter, Cardinal Bevilacqua recalled that the legislation passed Congress twice but was vetoed each time by President Clinton. "President Bush has said he will sign a bill to ban partial-birth abortion so the time to enact this ban is now," he said.
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 such a ban. But in 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Stenberg v. Carhart, struck down Nebraska"s ban on the procedure. This effectively called into question the constitutionality of other state bans and the twice-passed federal ban.
Alluding to objections which have been raised against the proposed legislation, Cardinal Bevilacqua said S.3 contains a precise and narrowly-worded definition of partial-birth abortion which responds to the Court"s concern about vagueness. It also addresses the Court"s concern about protecting women"s health by presenting Congress"s findings based on years of testimony that partial-birth abortion is not necessary to preserve women"s health, and may in fact pose serious health risks.
Cardinal Bevilacqua urged the Senate to turn aside a substitute proposal which may be offered by Senator Durbin, which "allows the brutal partial-birth abortion procedure and other late-term abortions to continue, though it purports to do otherwise."
"Please vote for S. 3, oppose the Durbin substitute, and reject the indefensible and inhumane partial-birth abortion procedure once and for all," Cardinal Bevilacqua said.
Note: The full text of Cardinal Bevilacqua's letter.