July 19, 1995 in Nation/World

House Panel Oks Ban On Abortion Technique

Cox News Service

A House committee on Tuesday passed a ban on a controversial late-term abortion technique. Opponents of the bill call it an extremist measure that will lead to greater restrictions of abortion rights.

On a party-line vote, the Judiciary Committee passed the measure 20-12.

Under the legislation, doctors who perform dilation and extraction, or D&X; abortions would be subject to fines and up to two years in prison.

The abortion technique, which the bill calls “partial-birth abortion,” is “particularly diabolical,” said Rep. Martin Hoke, R-Ohio.

While the term “partial-birth abortion” is medically non-existent, the authors of the legislation use it to describe the procedure in which the fetus is removed intact with forceps, except for the head. The doctor then drains the fetus’s skull to ease passage through the birth canal.

Opponents of the bill said the rarely used procedure is used when the woman’s life or health is in danger or the fetus is severely malformed. They said the measure would “demonize” physicians who perform abortions.

“What they’re really doing is impairing women’s long-term health,” said Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo. “Taking this decision out of the hands of the woman and her doctor … is really dangerous medicine.”

The committee defeated an amendment proposed by Schroeder that would have allowed the procedure if the woman’s emotional or physical health was in danger.

“The woman’s health … is not a reason to kill an unborn child,” said Republican Chairman Henry Hyde of Illinois.

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