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Long road to outlawing partial-birth abortion

WASHINGTON (BP)–In September 1992, Martin Haskell, an Ohio abortion doctor, described a second-trimester abortion method he named “dilation and extraction” (D&X) in a paper presented at a National Abortion Federation-sponsored seminar.

Following is a chronology of the attempt to prohibit the procedure widely known as partial-birth abortion:

Early 1993 — The National Right to Life Committee obtains Haskell’s paper and later publicizes it and begins a campaign to outlaw the procedure.

June 1995 — Rep. Charles Canady, R-Fla., introduces in the House of Representatives a bill titled the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act to prohibit the procedure; Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., introduces a companion bill in the Senate.

November 1995 — The House of Representatives approves the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act for first time, 288-139.

December 1995 — The Senate passes the ban for first time, 54-44.

April 1996 — President Clinton vetoes the legislation.

June 1996 — Southern Baptist Convention approves a resolution supporting the ban and disapproving of Clinton’s veto.

September 1996 — House overrides Clinton’s veto with a two-thirds majority, 285-137; Senate falls short of a two-thirds majority, 57-41, thus sustaining the veto.

March 1997 — House passes reintroduced ban, 295-136.

May 1997 — Senate approves ban, 64-36.

October 1997 — Clinton vetoes the ban for a second time.

July 1998 — House overrides veto, 296-132.

September 1998 — Senate falls short in override attempt, 64-36, thus sustaining the veto for a second time.

October 1999 — Senate approves ban in next session of Congress, 63-34.

April 2000 — House passes slightly different version, 287-141; Congress fails to work out a final version to send to the president.

June 2000 — Supreme Court votes 5-4 in Stenberg v. Carhart case to overturn Nebraska’s partial-birth abortion ban, which is modeled after the federal measure.

June 2002 — SBC adopts resolution calling for President Bush to make enactment of a partial-birth abortion ban a priority.

July 2002 — House passes revised version of the Partial-birth Abortion Ban in 274-151 vote. Senate never acts on bill during this session of Congress.

March 2003 — Senate votes 64-33 in favor of ban, but its version includes non-binding resolution endorsing 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

June 2003 — House votes 282-139 for ban, minus the resolution endorsing Roe v. Wade.

September 2003 — House-Senate conference committee reports out final bill without Roe resolution.

October 2003 — House approves conference committee report on bill, 281-142; Senate passes conference committee report, 64-34.

Nov. 5, 2003 — President Bush signs the ban into law.

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