News Articles

Laws passed in 25 states to ban partial-birth abortion

WASHINGTON (BP)–While President Clinton and Congress have battled over the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act the last two years, half of the states have enacted their own laws against the gruesome procedure.
Beginning with Michigan’s action in 1996, 25 states have adopted measures consistent with the federal legislation passed twice by Congress but vetoed both times by the president, according to information provided by the National Right to Life Committee July 28. Only seven of those laws are in effect, however. Courts have blocked enforcement of nearly all the others, with trials or appeals to higher courts pending in most of those states.
According to NRLC, partial-birth abortion bans patterned after the federal proposal are in force in Indiana; Mississippi; Oklahoma; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee and Virginia.
NRLC says courts have blocked enforcement of such bans in these states: Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Illinois; Iowa; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Nebraska; New Jersey; Rhode Island; West Virginia; and Wisconsin. The parties in Alabama reached a consent agreement postponing enforcement while a trial is pending. A state trial court declared the Montana law unconstitutional. The Georgia law was partially enjoined, leaving it effective on a “viable” baby.
At the federal level, the House of Representatives voted for the second time to override a Clinton veto July 23. The 296-132 roll call was more than sufficient for the two-thirds majority required for an override. The Senate is expected to attempt an override sometime after its August recess. When the Senate last voted on the bill, its 64 votes in support were three short of a two-thirds majority.
The federal bill bans an abortion method that involves the delivery of an intact baby feet first until only the head is left in the birth canal. The doctor pierces the base of the baby’s skull with surgical scissors, then inserts a catheter into the opening and suctions out the brain. The collapse of the skull enables easier removal of the dead child. This method is used primarily in the fifth or six months of pregnancy.
The legislation allows an exception for the procedure to be used when the life of the mother is endangered.