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March 13, 2003


Communications Department

Senate Contradicts Itself by Outlawing Safe Abortion Procedures While Also Voting to Reaffirm Roe v. Wade

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

Washington, DC - As we expected, today the Senate passed legislation that would ban safe abortion procedures by a vote of 65 to 32. In a conflicting vote yesterday the Senate also reaffirmed Roe v. Wade by a margin of 52-46.

S. 3, the so-called "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003," suffers from the same two constitutional flaws as the Nebraska statute the Supreme Court struck down in the Stenberg v. Carhart case in 2000. The bill is written so broadly as to ban the safest and most common abortion procedures used after 12 weeks and well before fetal viability, and it does not contain an exception to protect a woman's health. This legislation clearly defies the Supreme Court's rulings in Roe and subsequent cases.

It is unfortunate that in the extensive floor debate on this bill the rhetoric was both inflammatory and deceptive, with several Senators calling the integrity and professionalism of abortion providers into question. Our member physicians consistently provide the highest quality care to women which is why abortion is one of the safest medical procedures provided in the United States today. It is qualified medical professionals and not politicians with political agendas who should be determining what care is most appropriate for patients.

We fully expect that this legislation will be pushed quickly through the House and signed into law by President Bush. When that happens, the National Abortion Federation will immediately file suit in federal court to enjoin this dangerous and unconstitutional ban. It is important that we continue to safeguard the lives and health of women and ensure that doctors are able to make medical decisions and provide medical care that is in the best interests of their individual patients.

> Learn more about the so-called "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003."


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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