Defying the Republican Congress a second time, President Clinton vetoed a ban on certain late-term abortion procedures Friday. Conceding the operation seems inhumane, he said denying it in “rare and tragic circumstances” would be worse.
Republicans instantly promised a fight to override Clinton.
The president, who signed the veto papers privately and without fanfare in the Oval Office, chastised Congress for ignoring his oft-stated demand that the procedure be allowed in cases where a woman’s health was endangered.
Within moments of Friday’s veto, Rep. Charles Canady, chief sponsor of the House bill, pledged that abortion opponents would “work tirelessly to get the last few votes needed in the Senate.”
The legislation would ban the surgery - which involves the partial delivery of a fetus, legs first, through the birth canal followed by the drainage of its skull - except when needed to save a woman’s life.
It would not permit such an abortion even when the pregnancy jeopardizes a woman’s health. There is a “small group of women in tragic circumstances who need (the procedure) to avert death or serious injury,” Clinton said.