DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUn     October 22-24, 1999     vol. 10, no. 202

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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        WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The US Senate on Wednesday began debate for the third time on a proposed partial-birth abortion ban which President Bill Clinton has again promised to veto. But, the Senate is closer than before to having enough votes to override the veto.

        The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, said the ban is designed to protect "the most vulnerable members of our society." "This is about infanticide," he said from the Senate floor. "This is a baby who is all but born and then killed."

        In the partial-birth abortion procedure, the abortionist delivers the near full-term baby until only his head remains within the birth canal, then pierces the back of his neck with scissors and suctions out his brains. According to eyewitnesses, the babies evidence pain, flinching at the stab of the scissors and then going limp as they die.

        The current bill would make partial-birth abortion a felony punishable by a fine and/or a two-year prison term unless the procedure is "necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness or injury." The mother could not be prosecuted under the measure.

        The House of Representatives has passed by a veto-proof margin the ban each time it came up for consideration. Nearly 30 states have passed partial-birth abortion bans, but courts have overturned many of them.

        The current debate over the procedure has been motivated by new revelations of a profit motive for preferring partial-birth abortion over other methods. According to several pro-life groups, the procedure is often favored by abortionists because it provides intact fetuses for sale to researchers.

        The University of Washington advertises on the National Institutes of Health's Web site that they "can supply tissue from normal or abnormal embryos and fetuses of desired gestational ages between 40 days and term. Specimens are obtained within minutes of passage and tissues are aseptically identified, staged, and immediately processed according to the requirements of individual investigators." Pro-lifers note that the ad admits late-term abortions are being done on healthy babies.

        The pro-life group Life Dynamics of Texas has pioneered the discovery of the research connection by obtaining invoices which detail orders for organs and body parts of aborted babies, that list organizations that pay for fetal tissue services provided by Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, through groups such as Opening Lines and the Anatomic Gift Foundation. Although the sale of fetal tissue is illegal under current legislation, "site fees" and "services rendered" are paid by the buyers.

        "Because partial birth abortion is the only existing method that provides the industry with the whole cadavers needed for accurate dissection and distribution, questions have been raised concerning the validity of the procedure," said the American Life League. "Planned Parenthood has claimed in the past that partial birth abortions were done for reasons of safety, efficiency and convenience, but it is now believed that fetal tissue profits have been the motivation for the procedure."

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 22-24, 1999       volume 10, no. 202


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