Associated Press

April 5, 1997

Sen. Urges Late-Term Abortion Ban

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Clinton should ignore misleading ``stories'' spread by abortion-rights supporters and back legislation to ban certain controversial late-term abortions, a Republican senator said Saturday.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., urged Clinton in the GOP's weekly radio address ``to stop listening to these stories and to hear the voices of truth -- voices that speak for those who have been silenced.''

``America, if we sanction the brutal destruction of those who are not perfect, who are not chosen or not convenient, who are unseen or undefended, who among us would be spared?'' he said in his prerecorded address.

Clinton last year vetoed a measure that would ban a procedure referred to by the bill's supporters as a ``partial-birth abortion.'' He argued that it improperly allowed no exceptions for the health of the mother.

The legislation has returned, winning House approval last month, 295-136, greater than the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto. Santorum urged Americans to lobby for the bill's passage in the Senate. A similar bill there last year fell eight votes short of being veto-proof.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., has said Senate debate could begin this month or next.

Opponents of the ban contend it is an unconstitutional attempt to undercut the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized most abortions. They say the procedure is uncommon and used only when the fetus has severe abnormalities or the woman has serious health problems.

Santorum dismissed those arguments as ``stories'' and cited a recent admission by abortion-rights supporter Ron Fitzsimmons that the true number of such abortions was several thousand each year.

More complicated than first-trimester abortions, the procedure involves partially extracting a fetus, legs first, through the birth canal, cutting an incision in the barely visible skull base and then draining the contents of the skull.