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January 29, 2003


Communications Department

President Misleads American Public About a Ban on So-Called "Partial-Birth Abortion"

Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation

Washington, DC - In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush urged Congress to pass so-called "partial-birth abortion" ban legislation. What he failed to tell the American people, however, is that the term "partial-birth abortion" does not refer to any medical procedure. Rather, the term was created by anti-choice proponents to purposefully confuse legislators and the public and to obscure the issue. We must look through the rhetoric to see this bill for what it really is: a deceptive, intentionally vague and unconstitutional bill that would endanger the lives and health of American women.

In the Stenberg v. Carhart decision, the Supreme Court in June 2000 declared a Nebraska so-called "partial-birth abortion" ban to be unconstitutional. That ban, like the one Bush is urging Congress to pass, is not a late term, post-viability, or "at the very hour of their birth" ban. Instead, the ban fails to define a single procedure, and is so vague as to encompass safe abortion procedures used pre-viability. It also does not provide a health exception that the Supreme Court mandated was necessary to protect the health of the woman.

The President and Congress should consider the following statement made by the President in his address: "...we must put doctors and nurses and patients back in charge of American medicine." I couldn't agree more. Politicians are not qualified to legislate appropriate medical care and should leave medical decisions to be made by doctors in consultation with their patients. In this time of uncertainty for many Americans, the federal government should not be wasting valuable resources attempting to pass unconstitutional and ill-advised legislation. Women and families in America deserve better.


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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