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July 24, 2002


Communications Department

House of Representatives in Election Year Political Move Passes So-Called "Partial-Birth Abortion" Ban Legislation (H.R. 4965)

National Abortion Federation Expresses Disappointment that Legislators Continue to Play Politics with the Lives and Health of Women

Washington, DC - The House of Representatives today voted to pass legislation to ban so-called "partial-birth abortion." "We are extremely disappointed that House legislators motivated by election year politics voted to pass a deceptive, intentionally vague and unconstitutional bill that would jeopardize the lives and health of American women and their families," said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation.

The Supreme Court ruled in June 2000 in Stenberg v. Carhart that a Nebraska ban on so-called "partial-birth abortion" was unconstitutional for two reasons: it lacked the necessary exception for preserving the health of a woman and the definition of the targeted procedure was so vague as to possibly proscribe other abortion procedures, thus placing an "undue burden" on a woman's right to seek an abortion. "H.R. 4965 is even more deceptive than past attempts to enact restrictive abortion bans because the authors claim the bill is constitutional even though it clearly ignores the Supreme Court's ruling. The bill still does not contain an exception to protect women's health and contains an intentionally vague definition that would apply to more than one abortion procedure," Saporta stated.

Not only would this unconstitutional legislation jeopardize the lives and health of women, it would also criminalize doctors for providing women with appropriate health care. "This legislation improperly interferes with the doctor-patient relationship and subjects medical professionals and their patients to dangerous political game-playing," said Saporta. "Health care providers should not have to choose between exercising their best medical judgment for individual patients on a case-by-case basis and going to jail."

"The legislators who voted for H.R. 4965 have shirked their responsibility and ignored Supreme Court precedent in favor of playing election year politics with the lives and health of women and their families," stated Saporta. "NAF would like to extend our thanks to those legislators who saw through this election year maneuver and voted against this deceptive, dangerous and blatantly unconstitutional legislation."


The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.

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