House Approves Bill To Ban So-Called ‘Partial-Birth’ Abortion
The House on Thursday voted 281-142 to approve a bill (S 3) that would ban so called "partial-birth" abortion, the Washington Post reports (Eilperin, Washington Post, 10/3). The bill defines partial-birth abortion as a procedure in which a fetus is partially delivered alive and a physician performs "an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus." The ban, which does not include an exception for the health of the woman, would apply when the "entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother." If the measure becomes law, doctors who perform the procedure could face fines and prison sentences of up to two years (California Healthline, 6/5). The version of the bill passed yesterday was approved by a party-line vote in a House-Senate conference committee and omits a nonbinding resolution expressing support for the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which was included in the original Senate version of the bill (Fagan, Washington Times, 10/3). The Senate is expected to pass the bill sometime this month, although a vote has not yet been scheduled (Gay Stolberg, New York Times, 10/3). However, the bill will likely not be considered until after the week-long congressional break that begins on Friday, according to the Washington Times (Washington Times, 10/3). President Bush has said that he will sign the bill, which is a "top priority" for Bush's "conservative base," according to the Baltimore Sun (Hirschfeld Davis, Baltimore Sun, 10/3). According to the Raleigh News & Observer, Bush called for quick Senate action on the bill (O'Rourke, Raleigh News & Observer, 10/3). If the bill becomes law, it would be the first federal ban on an abortion procedure (Simon, Los Angeles Times, 10/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.