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House Votes To Bar Abortion Procedure

Measure passes House with enough votes to beat Clinton's promised veto

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WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 20) -- After hours of acrimonious debate, the House voted overwhelmingly this afternoon to ban a type of late-term abortion.

The measure would make it a crime for doctors to perform the procedure that is called an "intact dilation and evacuation" by its supporters and a "partial-birth abortion" by its opponents. It allows exceptions to save the life of the mother.

Backers of the bill called the procedure akin to infanticide. "This procedure cannot be defended," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Charles Canady (R-Fla.).

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Opponents argued that it was the first step on the slippery slope to banning all abortions. "The Republicans will not stop at one procedure," said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). "They want to ban all abortions at any time, by any method."

The House voted 295-136 to pass the bill, which was identical to the bill passed last year. President Bill Clinton vetoed last year's bill, and has vowed to veto it again in its current form.

It would take a two-thirds' vote in both chambers of Congress to override a veto; the bill passed the House with five votes more than the 290 it would need to override.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott says he has enough votes to pass the bill, but not enough for an override yet.

Last year, the House did vote to override Clinton's veto, but the effort fell short in the Senate by eight votes.

The bill was rushed through the House committee structure, emerging last night from the Rules Committee. The rules panel angered Democrats with several maneuvers: It replaced the version of the bill that passed the Judiciary Committee with last year's version; voted to allow no amendments; and barred the House from considering any alternatives to it.


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