HOYER ON PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION CONFERENCE REPORT

America Should be Concerned that Congress is Making a Medical Judgment

For Immediate Release:

October 2, 2003

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement regarding the partial-birth abortion conference report being debated on the House Floor today:

“Let’s be crystal clear about what this House is doing today: we are making a medical judgment.

“That ought to be a deep concern to every American who believes that the federal government has no business injecting itself into the middle of the doctor-patient relationship.
    
“If we pass this partial-birth abortion conference report, the elected representatives of the people of the United States – not the medical community, not doctors – will be telling every American woman that she cannot obtain certain medical procedures that are currently legal and available to her.

“And if that doesn’t trouble you, this should: this conference report is patently unconstitutional.  The proponents of this conference report are literally trying to paper over Supreme Court precedent.  

“In direct contradiction of the Supreme Court’s decision three years ago in Stenberg v. Carhart, this conference report deliberately excludes an exception for cases in which a woman’s health is in jeopardy.
  
“Instead, the proponents of this conference report have added dozens of pages of Congressional findings that conclude that the proscribed abortion procedure is never medically necessary.

“I not believe that anyone here believes in his or her heart that abortion is a desired outcome to a woman’s pregnancy, and I think, without question, that this belief is even stronger when an abortion is obtained in the late stages of pregnancy.
  
“But the fact of the matter is, this legislation would not prevent one abortion.  Not one.  That’s because while this legislation claims to ban a specific medical procedure performed in the most tragic of circumstances, it is written in a way that could outlaw other procedures as well.

“This legislation is without real effect. 
“Unfortunately, this House has again missed an important opportunity to seize what common ground exists on this sensitive issue.  The bipartisan Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act, which I sponsored again this year, addresses the heart of the matter: the termination of pregnancy in the late stages.

“It’s clear that the conference report before us is nothing but a veiled attempt to undermine the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade.  How else can one explain the conferees decision to strip out Senate language reaffirming Roe?”       

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