On September 17, by a vote of 93-0, the Senate voted to advance a ban on partial-birth abortion (S. 3) to a House-Senate conference committee.
Pro-abortion senators had blocked the advancement of the bill (S. 3) unless the Senate voted for a symbolic resolution supporting the Supreme Courts 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. That decision forced all states to legalize abortion on demand immediately and effectively removed the most contentious issue in American politics from the realm of democratic self-governance and gave it to the courts.
The Senate had passed the partial-birth abortion ban on March 13 by a vote of 64 to 33. The House passed a similar ban in June by a vote of 282 to 139, but the Senate version was tainted by an amendment upholding the Roe v. Wade decision. That amendment, sponsored by liberal Sen. Tom Harkin (D.-Iowa) in the Senate, is expected to be removed in conference committee. The House-Senate conference on this bill, which will reconcile the House and Senate versions of the ban, will include Senators Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), Mike DeWine (R.-Ohio), Rick Santorum (R.-Pa.), Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.) and Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.).
The partial-birth aboriton ban makes it a federal crime for abortionists to perform late-term abortions in which they partially extract a fetus, then crack its skull at the base of the cranium and remove its brains with a suction device.
The vote to advance this bill to the House-Senate conference committee came without floor debate, but it opens the door to the first-ever passage of a federal law prohibiting an abortion procedure of any kind. Unlike President Clinton, who vetoed the bill, President Bush has promised to sign it .
Pro-life senators were willing to vote in favor of the symbolic resolution, even though they disagree with Roe v. Wade, in order to move the bill to conference.
A “yes” vote was a vote in favor of advancing the partial-birth abortion ban (S. 3) to conference, and to agree with the Roe v. Wade decision. A “no” vote was a vote against the motion, and, in effect, against sending the bill to conference.
|FOR THE MOTION: 93||AGAINST THE MOTION: 0|
|REPUBLICANS FOR (49):
DEMOCRATS FOR (43):
INDEPENDENT FOR: (1):
NOT VOTING: 7
|REPUBLICANS (2):||DEMOCRATS (5):|
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