While most pro-life groups hailed passage of a ban on partial-birth abortion by the House of Representatives, some contend it will have no effect.
“It’s just a shame that the partial-birth abortion bill claims to ban a procedure that by the definitions and exceptions in the bill will not ban anything and probably will not stop one abortion,” Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, told the Agape Press News Service.
She argues that when the procedure is banned, abortionists simply will use another method.
“I just find it terribly disconcerting that all these members of Congress have gotten together to have a ‘parade’ about a bill that won’t stop any abortion,” she said.
The House approved the bill Wednesday by a 282-139 vote. The Senate passed a similar bill in March that needs to be reconciled with the House version before going to President Bush’s desk for his signature.
Bush has expressed support for the bill, asserting it will “help build a culture of life in America.”
But Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, shares Brown’s view, calling the ban a “waste” and a “shell game” that provides political cover for pro-abortion politicians.
“This is a hollow victory at best,” he said in a statement. “This law will probably be stuck down by the courts. The courts have already shown their disposition in regard to this.”
Terry also contended the ban “will not save one baby’s life.”
“The Congress is participating in a sham, misleading the American people,” he said. “They know that every child that would have been killed by partial-birth abortion will instead be killed by burning the baby alive in his mother’s womb with a saline solution, or a deadly injection into the child’s heart.”
In contrast, many pro-life activists regard the vote as a significant step toward ultimately banning abortion altogether.
“We applaud the pro-life community’s tenacity and commitment to ban the cruel practice of partial-birth abortion and look forward to a day in this country when every human being at any stage of life is welcomed as a valuable individual,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family.
Sandy Rios, president of Concerned Women for America, noted passage of the bill comes after more than seven years of legislative effort. Former President Clinton vetoed the proposed ban twice and the Democrat-controlled Senate prevented the bill from reaching the floor during the 2002 fall term.
“What a triumph of the American spirit it has been to see moms and dads, activists and plainspoken parishioners remain committed vote after vote, even through the Clinton vetoes, to seeing this legislation become law,” Rios said.
Clinton and other opponents of the ban insist it is medically necessary in many instances to save a mother’s life.
But in 1997, the American Medical Association endorsed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act because the procedure “is not good medicine” and is not “medically indicated” to protect a mother’s health or future fertility.
Southern Baptist leader Richard Land said in an interview with Focus on the Family, the bill “is evidence that the pro-life movement is gaining momentum in the struggle to reassert the sanctity-of-life ethic upon which this nation was founded.”
Land is head of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
Researchers with the Alan Guttmacher Institute say their nationwide survey of abortion providers shows an estimated 2,200 dilation and extraction, or D&X, abortions were conducted in 2000. However, a leading pro-life group, the National Right to Life Committee, believes the new number represents only a fraction of the true number.
Polls generally have indicated about two-thirds of Americans want to outlaw partial-birth abortion. During the procedure, an unborn child is partially extracted from the womb feet-first, stabbed in the skull with blunt surgical scissors, then pulled out after a vacuum tube has sucked out its brain and collapsed the head.