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Statement by Senator Mark Dayton on S. 3, A Bill to Ban Late-Term Abortion

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STATEMENT BY SENATOR MARK DAYTON ON S. 3, A BILL TO BAN LATE-TERM ABORTION

Despite my personal opposition to partial-birth abortion, I could not support the House-Senate Conference Report which passed the Senate today. That bill is unconstitutional, because it does not permit an exception to the ban when necessary for the health of the mother. Just three years ago, the United States Supreme Court emphatically restated that Constitutional requirement, when it ruled unconstitutional the State of Nebraska partial-birth abortion law because it failed to provide that exception.

This bill's proponents chose to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling. They also absurdly wrote into this law Congress's supposed "finding" that the procedure "is never necessary to preserve the health of a woman" and is "unrecognized as a valid abortion procedure by the mainstream medical community." If so, why is their bill opposed by the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Women's Association, the American Nurses Association, and the American Public Health Association?

The original Senate bill also included the "Sense of the Senate" that the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe vs. Wade should not be overturned. The Conference Report omits that assurance.

It seems clear that the bill's proponents intend this law, the first-ever federal ban on a medical procedure, as the first step toward taking all abortion-related decisions away from women and their doctors and relegating them to the quackery of Congressional "findings" and other unqualified practitioners.

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