A national pro-life postcard campaign aiming to override U.S. President Bill Clinton’s veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1997, HR 1122, is gaining support from the grassroots.

The 1998 Veto Override Postcard Campaign heightens the right-to-life message, and coincides with the 25th anniversary on January 22, 1998 of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion in all 50 states.

On the weekend of Jan. 24-25, 1998 parishioners of participating Catholic churches across the country signed postcards urging senators to override President Clinton’s veto.

HR 1122 bans partial-birth abortions with a “life of the mother” exception. President Clinton vetoed the current bill, on Oct. 10, 1997 citing, despite contrary evidence, that the bill also should have a “health of the mother” exception. Congress has approved HR 1122 with overwhelming bi-partisan support.

In 1998, Congress will vote on the veto override. Only a veto override, which requires the support of two-thirds of those present and voting in both the House of Representatives and Senate, can stop the practice of partial-birth abortion.

Wide sponsorship

The pro-life postcard campaign is sponsored by the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. Each person in a participating parish receives a strip of three cards attached to each other. The first two cards when signed are to be sent to the two United States senators, the third is a registration card.

It is on public record that partial-birth abortion has been performed thousands of times a year in the United States, killing partly born children during the fifth and six months of pregnancy and sometimes later. It has been performed mainly on healthy babies of healthy mothers and sometimes on children with disabilities, because parents do not desire a child born with disability.

Guided by ultrasound, an abortionist forcibly turns the child in the womb into a breech position and pulls the feet first, leaving the head in the birth canal. The abortionist stabs the child at the base of the skull with sharp scissors, then widens the hole, suctions out the child’s brains with a vacuum catheter, and collapses the head. Delivery of the dead child from the mother is then completed.

Previous pro-life postcard campaigns in 1993, 1994, 1996 have seen about 90 per cent of Catholic dioceses nationwide participating and a rising abortion effort stopped. Last year, a number of individual churches from various denominations and Catholic lay organizations, including Knights of Columbus and Catholic Daughters of the Americas, threw in their support to override a similar bill which President Clinton also vetoed. On their own initiative, citizens supporting the campaign can sign postcards at any time prior to the veto override vote.

Aside from the postcard campaign, citizens were requested to write letters, send telegrams, make phone calls, visit local offices, write letters to editors of local newspapers to strengthen support for overriding the President’s veto. All these supportive actions are also aimed at educating other people on the issue.

A prayer pledge is also important, and people are requested to say a short daily prayer for God’s blessing on the campaign and His assistance in ending partial-birth abortion.

The partial-birth abortion procedure is never medically necessary, according to the American Medical Association, former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, and hundreds of individual medical authorities including obstetricians-gynecologists and specialists in high-risk pregnancies. Legislation to outlaw the practice has been called for by legal experts including those who identify themselves as “pro-choice.”

AMA president Daniel Johnson Jr., M.D., stated that “the partial delivery of a living fetus for the purpose of killing it outside the womb is ethically offensive to most Americans and physicians. Our panel could not find any identified circumstance in which the procedure was the only safe and effective abortion method.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in a statement of policy, Jan. 12, 1997, said: “A select panel convened by ACOG could identify no circumstance under which this procedure … would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.”
Clinton misled?

From former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, in American Medical News, August 19, 1996: “I believe that Mr. Clinton was misled by his medical advisers on what is fact and what is fiction in reference to late-term abortions. Because in no way can I twist my mind to see that the late-term abortion as described — you know, partial birth, and then destruction of the unborn child before the head is born — is a medical necessity for the mother. It certainly can’t be a medical necessity for the baby.”

Abortionist Warren Hern wrote in American Medical News, November 20, 1995: “I have very serious reservations about this procedure . . . You really can’t defend it. I’m not going to tell somebody else that they should not do this procedure. But I’m not going to do it. . . I would dispute any statement that this is the safest procedure to use.”

Pro-lifers realize that overriding a veto is difficult. But they emphasize that every person sending a pro-life postcard to Congress makes a difference.