Measure Is Identical To Bill Vetoed By President Clinton Last Year
- Alaska Congressman Don Young today voted in favor of a measure that prohibits physicians who perform abortions from utilizing "partial-birth" abortion procedures. The bill passed by a vote of 295-136.
"I am pleased with the passage of this legislation, I have always voted for pro-life legislation as I believe an unborn child is a human being and should be protected through all stages of life," Young said.
The measure, HR 1122, identical to the bill vetoed by President Clinton last year defines the procedure that involves a partial vaginal delivery of a child before killing the child and completing the delivery. The bill is similar to HR 929, which passed out of the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20-11 on March 12, 1997.
"We are giving the President a second chance to sign the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1997 into law, it is clear that the argument he used to justify vetoing the bill last year was based on falsehoods," Young said.
For individuals who perform a partial-birth abortion, the bill imposes fines or potential imprisonment of up to two years, and allows the father or maternal grandparents (if the mother is under 18 years of age) to file a civil lawsuit against the doctor for monetary damages equaling three times the cost of the partial-birth abortion procedure. Fathers of babies aborted by this procedure may be included in civil lawsuits for damages against a doctor only if he and the mother of the child were married at the time the procedure was performed.
The bill provides protection from prosecution for doctors who can show that they performed the abortion procedure in order to save the mother's life. The doctor must show, in his judgement, that (1) because the mother suffered form a physical disorder, illness, or injury, her life was threatened if she did not undergo a partial-birth abortion; and (2) no other medical procedure would have adequately preserved her chances of surviving the pregnancy.
The bill defines a "physician" who may be held liable for performing a partial-birth abortion as "(1) a doctor legally authorized to practice medicine and surgery by the state in which the doctor practices; or (2) any other individual legally authorized by the state to perform abortions." However, any individual who is not a physician or not otherwise legally authorized by the state to perform abortions, but nevertheless directly performs a partial-birth abortion, is subject to the provisions of the bill.
CBO estimates that enactment of this bill will have no significant impact on the federal budget.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.