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Senate fails to override veto of abortion ban

Senate Republicans fall short; Clinton veto stands

Graphic September 18, 1998
Web posted at: 11:01 a.m. EDT (1101 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Republican-led Senate failed Friday to override President Clinton's veto of a measure banning a type of late-term abortion. The 64-36 vote in favor of an override left opponents three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed.

The Republican-majority House voted 296-132 in July to overturn the veto but the Senate's inability to do the same means Clinton's veto stands.

In May 1997, senators passed the bill by the same 64-36 margin as Friday's vote.

Had it become law, it would have banned a medical procedure -- described by its critics as a "partial birth abortion" -- except when needed to save the pregnant woman's life. The procedure involves the partial, feet-first delivery of a fetus and the draining of its skull contents.

Abortion rights advocates, including Clinton, say the bill is unconstitutional because it makes no exceptions for when a woman's health is jeopardized by continuing a pregnancy -- a provision that they say is required by the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

Republicans have been trying to enact the ban since taking control of Congress in 1995.

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Friday, September 18, 1998

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