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Bush Signs Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Bush Signs Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush signed legislation Wednesday banning a certain type of abortion, but a federal judge blocked implementation of the law in Nebraska less than an hour later.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf issued a temporary restraining order citing concerns that the law did not contain an exception for preserving the health of the woman seeking the abortion. Kopf stopped short of prohibiting the new law from being enforced nationwide. He said his order would apply only to the four doctors who filed the lawsuit in Nebraska.

``While it is also true that Congress found that a health exception is not needed, it is, at the very least, problematic whether I should defer to such a conclusion when the Supreme Court has found otherwise,'' Kopf said.

``For years, a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth while the law looked the other way,'' Bush said as he signed the ban on a procedure called partial-birth abortion by its critics. ``Today at last the American people and our government have confronted the violence and come to the defense of the innocent child.''

The White House staged the ceremony, before about 400 cheering lawmakers and abortion opponents, at a federal building named for former President Ronald Reagan, a strong supporter of anti-abortion groups. An ``Amen'' was heard from the audience as Bush sat down at a desk, before a row of American flags, to sign the bill passed last month by Congress.

Besides Nebraska, hearings were also being held in San Francisco and New York City Wednesday on similar challenges.

Fully aware of the impending legal obstacles, Bush said, to a standing ovation and the longest round of applause during his brief remarks: ``The executive branch will vigorously defend this law against any who would try to overturn it in the courts.''

The president's signature represented an end to a legislative crusade that began after Republicans captured the House in 1995. Former President Clinton twice vetoed similar bills, arguing that they lacked an exception to protect the health of the mother.

The law, approved by the House and Senate late last month, prohibits doctors from committing an ``overt act'' designed to kill a partially delivered fetus and allows no exception if the woman's health is at risk, or if the child would be born with ailments. The procedure, which usually involves puncturing the fetus' skull, is generally performed in the second or third trimester.

Aware of its backing among the religious conservatives that make up a key portion of his base of political support, the president declared himself pleased to sign legislation he said would help him and others ``build a culture of life'' in America. To that end, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the president supports additional legislative moves - which he did not specify - to further restrict abortion.

``This right to life cannot be granted or denied by government, because it does not come from government - it comes from the creator of life,'' the president said, receiving another lengthy standing ovation.

But Bush is also mindful of the more moderate voters he cannot afford to alienate, and last week repeated a position he offered during his 2000 campaign. He said he would not seek a total ban on abortion because public opinion had not yet shifted to support such a move.

The new law is similar to a Nebraska statute struck down by the Supreme Court three years ago and imposes the most far-reaching limits on abortion since the high court in 1973 established a woman's right to end a pregnancy.

Supporters argue the law applies only to a procedure done late in pregnancy - and relatively rarely - and that the procedure is never necessary to protect the health of the mother.

``As Congress has found, the practice is widely regarded within the medical profession as unnecessary, not only cruel to the child, but harmful to the mother and a violation of medical ethics,'' Bush said.

But abortion-rights groups say the law has overly broad language that could criminalize several safe and common procedures, and fear it represents the first step in a larger campaign to eventually bar all abortions.

Outside the ceremony, the National Organization for Women conducted a protest of about 50 to 100 activists who chanted and held signs saying ``Keep Abortion Legal'' and ``saveroe.com'' - a Web site named for the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing the procedure.

On Capitol Hill, critics urged the courts to declare the ban unconstitutional at a news conference outside the Supreme Court.

``President Bush and Congress have no business inserting themselves between American women and their doctors,'' said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y.
post #2 of 27
You're brave to start this thread, Kellye!

I think I am going to stay out of this one for now...
post #3 of 27
I remember hearing several years ago about a woman who testified against this law the last time around. She was adamantly pro-life, and was found to be pregnant with a baby with anencephaly (sp?) - no brain. The baby would have died as soon as he/she was born, and to be forced to go through with the birth would have been detrimental to her health, possibly damaging her body so she would be unable to have other children. This, on top of the grief of a lost baby? She and her husband were very torn, but decided that the abortion would be the best option. An abortion in this case is a very personal decision, best made between doctor and patient.

I am utterly apalled that this legislation was passed without making an exception for the health of the mother. Do a female human's life & health only matter when she's an infant?

*Plus, this legislation is coming from an administration that is cutting prenatal & child health care & welfare programs, and sex education right & left. Does anyone see the hipocrisy of this?
post #4 of 27
Originally posted by tuxedokitties
I am utterly apalled that this legislation was passed without making an exception for the health of the mother. Do a female human's life & health only matter when she's an infant?
I absolutely agree with you there. Excellent point, and well stated.
post #5 of 27
Judge Blocks Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
Wed Nov 5, 3:21 PM ET Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!

By KEVIN O'HANLON, Associated Press Writer

LINCOLN, Neb. - A federal judge in Nebraska blocked implementation of a federal ban on certain late-term abortions Wednesday, less than an hour after President Bush (news - web sites) signed the ban into law.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf issued a temporary restraining order against the law after a three-hour hearing on a lawsuit in Nebraska brought by abortion-rights supporters.

He said his order would apply only to the four doctors who filed the lawsuit, but the ruling could extend beyond Nebraska because the physicians are licensed to practice in Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, New York, South Carolina and Virginia.

Kopf cited concerns that the law did not contain an exception for preserving the health of the woman seeking the abortion.

"While it is also true that Congress found that a health exception is not needed, it is, at the very least, problematic whether I should defer to such a conclusion when the Supreme Court has found otherwise," Kopf said.

Bush signed the measure into law Wednesday at a ceremony in Washington, saying that for years, "a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth while the law looked the other way."

The law would ban certain types of abortion procedures on fetuses that are roughly 14 weeks or older that abortion opponents call "partial-birth abortion."

Supporters of the measure contend it applies only to a procedure done late in pregnancy that is never necessary to protect the health of the mother.

Under the new law, a woman could not undertake the procedure even if her health was at risk or the child would be born with ailments.

Kopf had expressed serious reservations about the new law during the hearing, saying, "It seems to me the law is highly suspect, if not a per se violation of the Constitution."

He said the law appears to have a "serious vagueness problem," and that the congressional record of debate on the bill did not reflect an objective presentation of facts.

"If the act takes effect, physicians across the country will risk imprisonment for providing abortion care in accordance with their best medical judgment," said Priscilla Smith, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit.

Justice Department (news - web sites) lead attorney Anthony Coppolino told Kopf that he should show deference to Congress' findings that the abortion procedure has not been studied enough to prove it is necessary.

"I'm mindful of the court's concerns ... but we ask that you give consideration to the deep concerns that were expressed by Congress," Coppolino said. "It is an abhorrent and useless procedure."

Kopf replied by voicing his concern that he could find no record that any doctor who performs abortions in the second and third trimester testified before Congress on late-term abortions.

"Where were the docs who do this procedure?" Kopf asked. "Isn't that important if Congress was really interested in knowing about this procedure?"

At the White House, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said the president believes the new law will be upheld.

"We believe it is constitutional and you could expect that we would vigorously defend this law in the courts," McClellan said.

It was a challenge by one of the four doctors in the suit that led to the Supreme Court overturning Nebraska's so-called partial-birth abortion ban in 2000. The high court said the law and others like it passed by other states were an "undue burden" on women's rights.
post #6 of 27
I agree that abortion should be legal BUT this is down right sick. If the mothers health is at risk they can take the baby out by c-section. It is NOT right to KILL a baby. I think that when done under three monthes it is still killing a life, but I do not have the right to choose for other people. I do how ever think that if the baby would be able to live outside of the womb it is to far along to have that it done. I was always very prochoice until I started trying to get pregant and did alot of reading about how babies devolpe and say 3d/4d ultra sounds. I don't understand how anyone can look at a BABY a really live BABY and think it is okay to "puncturing the fetus' skulls"
In another IMO topic a 14 year old is being charged for murder because she killed the baby right after it was born, I guess it would have been okay if she would have had a doctor "puncture the skull"
post #7 of 27
I agree Princess Purr.
I think that if the baby is able to be partially born than it should be allowed to be removed via C-section and try to live on its own without further risk to the mother. If the baby is so severly injured or deformed that it is at risk than at least give it a chance to survive, don't just kill it before it has a chance.
post #8 of 27
I don't want to see us go back to the days of back alleys and coat hangers but I don't believe that abortions should be used as a means of birth control or merely because it inconvenient to have a baby.

This particular procedure is gruesome and is performed on a potentially viable baby. There are other procedures that can be used.

My mother's twin sister was anacephalic and had a cleft palate. When she and Mom were born, Mom's twin was cleaned up, placed in a crib and allowed to die peacefully. She lived for five hours.

Nowadays some parents of anacephalic babies are opting to go to term and donate the baby's organs for transplant. There are never enough organs, small enough for transplantation into babies. I have a great deal of respect for these parents. I can't begin to imagine what it feels like, to lose a child. To go through that devastation and still want to help someone else's child live should get these folks a special place in Heaven.
post #9 of 27
i'm one of the many "i'm pro-choice but i personally wouldn't have an abortion" people. and i personally think that you can't judge people who have abortions, and while i don't like them, i don't think that you should force a woman to have a baby that she doesn't want. and the idea of making her have a c-section for no reason is horrible. i remember after my mom had one for my brother and it took forever for her to recover!

anywho...i just think that you need to let everyone make their own choices, as there are way too many unwanted children in this world.

but i think i'm avoiding this topic from now on as i know it could turn really ugly, REALLY quick. LOL
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
I agree with Cindy when it comes to the donation of baby organs, etc
post #11 of 27
I am 100% Pro life and would support a full abortion ban unless its a life or death situation for mother or baby.
post #12 of 27
There are other things that can be done though, they don't need to KILL the baby when it is ready to be born. Then why are teens that kill the baby right after it is born put in jail? Just because it has taken it's first breath of air. Just doesn't make sense.
Abortion is on thing, but this late term stuff I just can't stomach. You have three monthes to figure it out, if you have gone that far just let the baby be adopted.
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
I believe in abortion in the first trimester, but not in the late terms, there are so many childless couples who want children and would so love to adopt.
post #14 of 27
I have a lot of issues with the abortion issue. I took a while before deciding to post here. On 1 hand my Catholic upbring tells me it is wrong, on the other hand I am pro-woman and feel that each woman should be able to decide for herself the best thing for herself. My biggest issue is I so desparately want a baby and it hurts me to hear of people using abortion as a means of birth control and a method to get rid of an inconvenience. In Ontario, abortion is covered by public health care but you have to pay an arm and a leg for fertility treatments. I feel that if a woman's health is at risk, her life should be the 1st consideration, but that the fetus should be treated with dignity and respect. To me a baby is a living soul at the time of conception. An abortion is something I would never be able to do, but I would never impose my beliefs on someone else.
post #15 of 27
i will agree: i find anything after first-trimester abortions to be appauling to my own sensibilities, but like Ady, i'm also pro-woman and i feel that we need to be able to keep our right to choose.

so while i choose not to have an abortion and feel they are wrong, i would never force my opinion on anyone else.
post #16 of 27
For Release February 13, 2002

Statement on So-Called "Partial Birth Abortion" Laws By The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) continues to oppose state or federal legislation known as so-called "partial birth abortion" bans. "Partial birth abortion" is a non-medical term apparently referring to a particular abortion procedure known as intact dilatation and extraction (intact D&X, or D&X), a rare variant of a more common midterm abortion procedure know as dilatation and evacuation (D&E).

In June 2000, the US Supreme Court struck down a Nebraska "partial birth abortion" law in the case of Stenberg v. Carhart, ruling that the law violated the US Constitution by (1) failing to provide any exception "for the preservation of the health of the mother," and (2) being so broadly written that it could prohibit other types of abortion procedures such as D&E, thereby "unduly burdening a women's ability to choose abortion itself."

As stated in a 1997 Statement of Policy issued by ACOG's Executive Board, and in ACOG's amicus curiae brief filed in the Stenberg case, ACOG continues to find it disturbing that legislators would take any action that would supersede the medical judgment of a trained physician, in consultation with a patient, as to what is the safest and most appropriate medical procedure for that particular patient.

ACOG's 1997 Statement of Policy affirmed that position and explained why ACOG believes such legislation to be "inappropriate, ill advised, and dangerous." The policy statement noted that although a select panel convened by ACOG could identify no circumstances under which intact D&X would be the only option to protect the life or health of a woman, intact D&X "may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman, and only the doctor, in consultation with the patient, based upon the woman's particular circumstances, can make this decision."

The Statement of Policy further reads that such legislation has the potential to outlaw other abortion techniques that are critical to the lives and health of American women. This was the second basis upon which the Supreme Court struck down the Nebraska law in the Stenberg case. Such "partial birth" laws are invariably overly broad or imprecisely drawn, frequently using terms — such as "partial birth abortion" — that are not recognized by the very constituency (physicians) whose conduct the law would criminalize. They purport to address a single procedure, yet describe elements of other procedures used in obstetrics and gynecology. Thus, even when legislators add an exception to a so-called "partial birth abortion" ban that includes protecting a woman's health, the ban may fail to have the necessary specificity to avoid encroaching on other safe and constitutionally protected medical procedures. For this reason, the ban would fail the two-part test outlined by the Supreme Court in the Stenberg decision.

The misinformation currently circulating in political discussions of abortion procedures only reinforces ACOG's position: in the individual circumstances of each particular medical case, the patient and physician — not legislators — are the appropriate parties to determine the best method of treatment.

# # #

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the national medical organization representing nearly 40,000 physicians who provide health care for women.

post #17 of 27
hey, i have a friend at work who had to have that done! i recognized the medical terminology. it was so sad too.... she had to abort her baby because it just wasn't forming properly, and would never survive the pregnancy.

it was so hard for her to do.
post #18 of 27
I'm so sorry. That's one reason why this is such a sensitive issue, involving very personal, painful medical decisions.

I had a friend who several years ago went through this - it was the only way to save her health. One of her twins didn't survive inside her but it wasn't caught by the doctor until too late - by that time, the other twin was poisoned and dying. She became ill too, so this was done - there was no way the other baby would have survived, and she would have been at risk also. It was absolutely heartbreaking. But she survived and recovered to have another healthy child later on. If she had been forced to have a C-section, it would have put her life at risk in her delicate state, and it could also have endangered her future ability to have children. If she had been forced to wait to give birth to the stillborn children, she would have died (not to mention the unimaginable emotional agony!).

I hate even thinking about this, it's so scary & depressing. But I believe that it's important to allow a doctor the freedom to do what's best for his or her patient, and not have the government dictate what treatment can be done.
post #19 of 27
One of my friends had a late abortion a couples years ago.. Her baby only developed one arm, one leg, one lung, etc, and they said there was no way it would survive labor. Why she wasn't being monitored throughout the whole pregnancy I don't know, but it was the hardest thing I've ever seen a mom have to do, aside from when my exbf's sister's baby was still born and she had to bury it in this tiny casket. Ugh I don't know why things happen, but in that case I can't really object to abortion.

My first bf ever, when I was 14, his mom had already had 4 abortions.. In the time we were together she had 2 more. My ex had to beg her to keep the sister that he does have. That is irresponsible and just plain STUPID, dangerous, and shouldn't be legal.

I personally think abortion is wrong as I accept that hey if God wants me to have a kid who am I to stop him.. BUT I respect that other people have a different moral stance and that my moral stance isn't the be all end all of the world. What I do is what I believe, and I wouldn't want someone to not be able to do what they believe..

I really think though, that although I'm not a bush fan, in most cases partial birth abortions should be outlawed. For one thing we have a ton of birth control options, and then after that we have ru486, the morning after pill, not to mention the first trimester abortion. Barring no medical problems, there should be no reason a woman would need to wait to have an abortion. That's all good in theory, but then the back alley abortions which will be picking up.. Ugh. There's no answer.
post #20 of 27
My big problem with the legislation (besides the government interfering in doctor-patient relationships and a VERY personal & painful decision) is that it does not allow any exception to protect the health of the mother.

I may be wrong, but I think late-term abortions are already illegal in most states except in extreme circumstances. IMO this legislation is just a way to make the administration look good to its supporters, at the expense of the few people who are in medical need.
post #21 of 27
It is one thing in extreme cases where the mothers LIFE is at risk, but it is another to use it as a form of birth control. If the mother is going to die if the baby is not removed that is one thing, but if the baby can be deleavered and live it should be given a chance. Just because the baby is inside doesn't mean that it can't feel pain, it isn't scared, and you are not killing something. I don't know how doctors that preform those types of abortions can sleep at night.
post #22 of 27
This is an extremely emotional/personal issue. I am unable to bear children. Thus far, I've had 5 miscarriages, the last ending when the fetus was not quite 5 1/2 months old. I had spent 3 months in bed before that miscarriage. The hormone treatments, sonographies, etc., put extreme pressure on my marriage. I'm thus inclined to want any pregnant woman to carry to term and give the child up for adoption. But - you have to be in certain circumstances to be able to make a valid decision. I find it appalling that "do-gooders" feel they have the right to prescribe the behavior of those afflicted. If you and your partner are unemployed and overwhelmed, should you be forced to carry a child to term because there are people who are desperate to have kids? I resent the current administration's efforts to "bring the situation under control". This is something that has to be decided on a case-by-case basis. The government goes too far when it tries to prescribe /proscribe people's reactions, IMO. I'm reminded of the Reagam adminstration - be anti-abortion, but if your daughter ends up pregnant, send her to Mexico to "get rid of it".
post #23 of 27
I really think though, that although I'm not a bush fan, in most cases partial birth abortions should be outlawed. For one thing we have a ton of birth control options, and then after that we have ru486, the morning after pill, not to mention the first trimester abortion. Barring no medical problems, there should be no reason a woman would need to wait to have an abortion. That's all good in theory, but then the back alley abortions which will be picking up.. Ugh. There's no answer. [/b]
You are absolutely correct abt contraceptives: if there was much greater education on, cheap access to, and no stigma on birth control, there would be less abortions. While federal law requires Medicaid programs in each state to provide 'family planning services' they do not dictate what that coverage should be. Right now for example, 23 out of the 50 state Medicaid programs do not cover the 'morning-after pill' aka emergency contraception. Many states allow hospitals to refuse to provide emergency contraception (regardless of insurance,) and that is not limited to just hospitals which are run by a religious based organization which has a religious objection to the procedure.Some but not all states require hospitals to make the availability of emergency contraception known to a rape victim. Some allow hospitals to only provide such services if the victim knows to ask. If you live someplace where there is only one local hospital and it does not provide the service, that's the end of access. If you are a teenager, and under the age of consent, cannot be treated medically at all without notifying your parents, you may be willing to take the chance that you haven't gotten pregnant.

The very conservative right seems to view pregnancy as some sort of morality play: have sex and risk having a baby (while I'm sure the vast majority of them do have sex, but have the means to assure that they don't have 10 children). Meanwhile, the Catholic Church (I am a Catholic) thinks that people only have sex for reproductive purposes. While some people can and do practice abstinence, it's lunacy to believe that one of the strongest of biological urges won't win out much of the time. Children should be wanted, not be punishment for having sex.

Under the Reagan administration an executive order was instituted which announced that US international aid for family planning services to third world countries, would not be given to any country unless all of their family planning clinics agreed to not provide any abortion counseling.(Just counseling alone, not necessarily abortions.) The order was in effect until Clinton was elected, who reversed it. Reinstating the order was one of the first things GW did after he took office, as fodder for the religious right. So right now, more than 27 countries get no family planning funding from the US, including several countries where the AIDS rate is climbing drastically. Of course, most of the withheld funding goes for low tech contraceptives such as condoms, which at least give some protection against AIDS transmission. Yet, I still remember GW standing proudly in the Rose Garden with U2's Bono, announcing his multi-million dollar commitment to fight AIDS in Africa.
post #24 of 27
I totally agree with Princess Purr. Partial birth abortion is brutal and there are other options. It is most often done later in pregnancy when the baby could live outside the womb. It's a disgusting procedure. And I don't see where going through birth process part of the way and then killing the baby and extracting it, is any easier on a woman's body if she has health issues.
post #25 of 27
what really makes me sad, is that so many people believe that abortion is about birth control. there are some people who do it, but they aren't usually the ones having "partial birth" abortions.

i really don't think that it's anyone's place to judge the women who do have abortions: we'll never know 100% of the details. and it's vain to make assumptions of why they do it (for example the ever-popular birth control example) if you aren't in that woman's shoes, you don't have the right to judge her actions or choose for her. to take her choice away takes away part of her humanity and her free-will--no matter how disgusting and repellent you may find it to be.

the same people out to ban abortions are also out to ban Sex Education in the classroom. It should not be taken out; we need more of it with more information provided. and the rest of the world needs it too.

and with so many children available for adoption in the rest of the world....SIGH....
post #26 of 27
I have so far stayed out of this conversation, but I feel now that I have something constructive to add.

First of all, I am like some others on this board - I am personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice. (An aside - besides the whole "Christian Morality" that seems to be at the heart of conservativism anymore it seems only logical to me that conservatives, who generally support individual rights over government control, should be the pro-choice ones. That has never made sense to me!) Ideologically I am opposed to late-term abortion, and I refuse to use the emotionally charged term "partial birth" because it never leads to anything but emotionally charged words.

The biggest problem that I have have with abortion legislation, including late-term abortion legislation is that it is always so poorly written. The laws are written in such a manner that it *could* be interpreted to make almost any type of abortion illegal. They use layman terminology, not medical, and rarely are there enough specifics given to clearly state what is actually being banned, and under what circumstances it would be allowed by law.

Case in point on poorly written abortion legislation (though unrelated to late-term abortion), they passed a law a few years ago that just went into effect which was touted as a "parental notification" law, making it necessary for doctors to notify parents/guardians of any girl under 18 that she is seeking an abortion. Sounds OK in theory, I suppose. BUT, when reading the law, I noted that it also had provisions that parents, grandparents, guardians, and other family could SUE any doctor who had performed an abortion on a minor, regardless of whether someone had been notified, for something like 2-5 years after the procedure. I talked to my mother about this, who was definitely Pro-Life. Unfortunately she had voted early by mail in ballot, and had voted for the measure. When I told her of the other provisions in the law, she said she was sorry she had voted that way. The intention of the law she agreed with, but not the letter of the bill. I suppose the people who sponsored the bill got what they wanted, though - making it much more difficult for doctors to be able to perform this procedure because the liability insurance I'm sure just skyrocketed the day this went into effect.
post #27 of 27
Dear Miss Placed Kiwi,

It is good that you posted this subject. It is not going to go away. I do support the ban for the simple reason that at this point in the "fetus or baby's life" it does feel pain. Yes, I am Pro-life, but I do understand why a woman would want to have an abortion. If she feels abandoned and does not have a good support system it is very difficult to raise a child.

I have talked to my sister (eight kids, not Catholic, just a careless Protestant). She is very Pro-Life. We have decided, that one of the reasons for the Women's movement is that there has been a real lack of respect for the role of a mother and a homemake. This is 24/7 job, no time off and no vacations. We think that because husbands and men did not respect the incredible job that a stay at home mom does that women went out in the work world to earn a paycheck, which would be a tangible sign of equality. Not that women, can make it in the work world. They have shown that they can. Just some thoughts, Goblin.
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