WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today urging Members of Congress to support the Hoyer-Greenwood Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act (H.R. 809), which will be on the House Floor tomorrow as an amendment in the nature of a substitute to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (H.R. 760):
“This is fifth time over the last nine years that this Republican Majority has forced a vote on the ‘Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act,’ legislation that will not prevent even one abortion, according to its own proponents. But it is the first time that they have allowed the bipartisan Hoyer-Greenwood Late Term Abortion Restriction Act to come to the Floor as a substitute.
“H.R. 809 is a commonsense alternative that would curb late-term abortions with exceptions for the life and serious and adverse consequences to the health of the mother. It addresses the very heart of the matter in this difficult debate: The termination of viable fetuses in the late stages of pregnancy. In short, unlike the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act focuses on when abortions are performed rather than how they are performed.
“In addition, the Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act comports with the constitutional requirements articulated in June 2000 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Stenberg v. Carhart, in which the Court struck down a Nebraska law proscribing partial-birth abortions because it, one, lacked the requisite exception for the preservation of the health of the mother and, two, impermissibly placed an ‘undue burden’ upon a woman’s right to choose an alternative abortion procedure that is commonly used before fetal viability.
“Where the Hoyer-Greenwood Late-Term Abortion Restriction Act is constitutional, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act – which deliberately excludes an exception for the health of the mother – is not. The authors of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act recognize the constitutional infirmity of their bill, and thus seek to alter the facts upon which Stenberg was decided. Specifically, they reject the Court’s findings that partial-birth abortion may, in some circumstances, be the safest abortion procedure for some women. And they state that partial-birth abortion is never necessary to preserve the health of the woman – an assertion disputed by medical professionals.
“I would never question the sincerity of those members who support the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. The medical procedure that it would ban is clearly gruesome and is reserved for the most tragic of circumstances. However, the indisputable fact remains: the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act would not prevent one – not one – abortion. It would only ban one procedure. Even its proponents question whether it will have the desired effect.
“Finally, the Late Term Abortion Restriction Act represents a commonsense alternative which resembles laws in 41 states.*** I hope that my colleagues will support this bill tomorrow.”
***Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming