The U.S. House of Representatives, by a two-thirds vote (282-139), joined the Senate in approving a bill to ban partial-birth abortions.
The bill (H.R. 760) legally defines a partial-birth abortion as any abortion in which the baby is delivered alive until “in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother,” or if the baby is delivered head first, “the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother,” before being killed.
H.R. 760 would allow the method if it was ever necessary to save a mother’s life.
During the debate, opponents of the ban argued that the bill violates two U.S. Supreme Court rulings – Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion on demand, and Stenberg v. Carhart, a 2000 decision in which five justices held that Roe v. Wade covers even partial-birth abortions.
Immediately after the bill’s passage, President George W. Bush issued the following statement: “I applaud the House for passing legislation banning partial-birth abortions. Passage of this important legislation is a shared priority that will help build a culture of life in America. I urge Congress to quickly resolve any differences and send me the final bill as soon as possible so that I can sign it into law.”