On October 21, by a vote of 64 to 34, the Senate passed the final version of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 (S. 3).
This landmark legislation has now passed both the House and Senate in identical form, and will be sent to President Bush, who has promised to sign it.
The bill will be very limited in the number of babies it saves from the abortionist’s knife, but it represents the first incremental legal step of any kind on the federal level toward abolition of legalized abortion.
The bill was crafted to circumvent the Supreme Court decision Stenberg v. Carhart which found Nebraska’s partial-birth abortion statute unconstitutional. However, the court has been so steadfast in defending the court-invented right to abortion that it is unclear whether even this watered down bill will survive the court’s butcher knife.
Senator Rick Santorum (R.-Pa.) described the procedure of partial-birth abortion in lurid detail, pointing out that it kills babies who would, “had they been delivered, be born alive.”
In the gruesome procedure of partial-birth abortion, a baby is partially delivered but prevented from pushing past the mother’s vagina. There he is held and stabbed at the base of his skull until dead, Santorum said. A breach baby is likewise pulled leg first through the birth canal, stopped at the juncture where its skull and neck connect, and stabbed in its brain until it dies.
Santorum brought pictures so his colleagues could watch the stomach-turning procedure of a baby savagely murdered inches away from being born.
“When people ask the question, ‘senator, why do you keep bringing this procedure back up to the Senate floor; it only stops one procedure; you are not banning other procedures that are used,’ my answer is, ‘Because this is horrendous,'” Santorum said.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.) took the occasion of this debate to reflect on the career of Sen. Bob Smith (R.-N.H.), a tireless advocate of the pro-life cause, who lost his primary election last year to Sen. John Sununu (R.-N.H.), who is also pro-life.
“He was attacked bitterly as being an extremist, talking about things he ought not to be talking about on the floor of the Senate,” said Sessions. “But Bob Smith stood firm, as he always did, for what he believed in. . .We heard the implacable opposition from the pro-abortion forces. They wanted no yielding, no compromise, nothing that would give an inch on this issue, and they dismissed facts and figures. Sen. Bob Smith will now be vindicated.”
Even so, Sessions acknowledged that the passage of a partial birth-abortion ban, while “a significant step in protecting the innocent unborn. . .does not have any broad impact throughout the abortion debate.”
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan), another staunch advocate for the unborn, pointed out that during in-utero surgery babies behave just like babies in surgery outside of the womb.
“There is a confined area that the child can run around in the womb, but as they go in with that needle the child jerks back, holds their buttocks back,” said Brownback. “They do not like to get the needle in them. . .The child is, indeed, a person with dignity and rights and is entitled to life.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.), one of the most tireless advocates for legalized abortion on demand under all circumstances, read letters from medical interest groups that profit from this faster, cheaper procedure developed for abortionists and others by a business-minded practitioner. The American College of Gynecologists wrote Boxer they could not answer her questions to them about the procedure because “partial-birth abortion” and “brain-sucking abortions” “do not delineate a specific procedure recognized in the medical literature.”
“We have not seen one woman talk in favor of the side that says this procedure ought to be banned,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D.-N.J.). In fact, the only pro-life woman in the Senate, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R.-N.C.), did not participate in the floor debate for the conference report. But she and these other female senators voted for the ban.
Sen. John Ensign, (R-Nev.), a veterinarian by trade, said he could not believe any doctor or nurse could ever deliver a baby up to its neck and kill it. This procedure is not humane, he argued, because babies, like the animals he once treated in his practice, feel pain. “It is documented,” he said.
A “yes” vote was for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. A “no” vote was a vote to keep this gruesome procedure legal.
|FOR THE BILL: 64||AGAINST THE BILL: 34|
|REPUBLICANS FOR (47):
DEMOCRATS FOR (17):
|REPUBLICANS AGAINST (3):
DEMOCRATS AGAINST (30):
INDEPENDENT AGAINST (1):
NOT VOTING: 2
|REPUBLICANS (1):||DEMOCRATS (1):|