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Long past time for a ban on PBADuring the few years, the House and Senate have passed a ban on the procedure commonly known as "partial-birth abortion" by significant margins, but could not get past the obstacle of a President Clinton veto. The PBA ban passed the House with a veto-proof margin, but couldn't get enough support in the Senate to overturn a Presidential veto.
But while the bill failed in the 104th 105th and 106th Congresses, it may become law this year. With George W. Bush's victory in the 2000 Presidential election, we finally have a President who will sign the bill. The House of Representatives is set to vote on the bill next week. Pro-lifers are hoping to capitalize on the momentum of Senate approval of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which passed the Senate 98-0 and was finally sent to the President's desk on July 19th. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, knowing that Democrats have been on the wrong side of this issue, may be compelled to allow the ban on PBA to come to the Senate floor for a vote, with the 2002 elections looming and the knowledge that killing such a ban would turn off independents and even many moderate Democrats.
The American people are strongly in favor of a ban on PBA, and rightly so. This procedure involves the delivery of an unborn baby feet-first until only the baby's head remains inside the mother's body. Then, surgical scissors are used to puncture the baby's head and the brains are sucked out. Finally, the baby's head is crushed and the remains of the dead child are removed from the mother's body. This procedure is only inches away from being the infanticide that Congress just banned.
Congress has held extensive hearings on this procedure since 1995, and found, among other things, that the baby being killed by PBA does feel pain, and in a more intense way than adults do. Pro-abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood initially clamed that the baby is killed by anesthesia before his body is destroyed by this procedure. But many in the medical community immediately refuted and debunked this wild claim.
Congress also found that "PBA" is performed much more often than abortion providers and supporters claim. In New Jersey alone, 1,500 partial-birth abortions are performed annually. Concerned Women for America notes on its Web site:
"Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director for the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, admitted in a 1995 Nightline interview that he "lied through his teeth" about the number of partial-birth abortions performed each year. He conceded that such abortions are fairly common and performed on healthy fetuses."Pro-abortionists attempt to use the "health of the mother" exception as a reason to oppose band on PBA. But the "health" exception is so broad that it essentially invalidates the ban, allowing for almost any reason to justify getting around it. "Health" can include factors such as emotional well being as well as many others. And all pregnancies effect the health of the mother in some adverse way, if only due to the fact that gestating a baby places extra strain on a mother's body. But that is not ample justification for allowing "doctors" to rip babies' brains out of their heads and then crush their skulls.
Fortunately, Indiana is blessed with Congressmen such as John Hostettler, who see through the rhetoric and are unflinching advocates for human life. A press release from Hostettler's Washington office observed:
"We live in a nation where federal law protects the life of the Chiricahua Leopard Frog and the Ozark big-eared bat," Hostettler said. "A person who takes the life of a protected species faces the full weight of federal law. Yet a person who intentionally punctures the skull of a living baby enjoys the full protection of federal law."Even though efforts to ban this horrific procedure have failed at the federal level and activist judges have blocked bans at the state level, this debate has not been wasted effort for the pro-life movement. By focusing on this procedure and the inhumanity it represents, pro-lifers have forced the American people to again consider the inhumanity of killing an unborn child before birth, even if only in this limited way. The American people have had their minds opened and hearts softened by graphic descriptions of partial-birth abortion. With a pro-life President sitting in the Oval Office, it is long past time for this procedure to be banned.