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H.Doc.104-200 SIGNIFICANT NARCOTICS TRAFFICKERS CENTERED IN COLOMBIA ...
104th Congress, 2d Session - - - - - - - - - - House Document 104-198 VETO OF H.R. 1833 __________ MESSAGE from THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES transmitting HIS VETO OF H.R. 1833, A BILL TO AMEND TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE, TO BAN PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS <GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT> April 15, 1996.--Message and accompanying bill referred to the Committee on the Judiciary and ordered to be printed To the House of Representatives: I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 1833, which would prohibit doctors from performing a certain kind of abortion. I do so because the bill does not allow women to protect themselves from serious threats to their health. By refusing to permit women, in reliance on their doctors' best medical judgment, to use this procedure when their lives are threatened or when their health is put in serious jeopardy, the Congress has fashioned a bill that is consistent neither with the Constitution nor with sound public policy. I have always believed that the decision to have an abortion generally should be between a woman, her doctor, her conscience, and her God. I support the decision in Roe v. Wade protecting a woman's right to choose, and I believe that the abortions protected by that decision should be safe and rare. Consistent with that decision, I have long opposed late-term abortions except where necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. In fact, as Governor of Arkansas, I signed into law a bill that barred third trimester abortions, with an appropriate exception for life or health. The procedure described in H.R. 1833 has troubled me deeply, as it has many people. I cannot support use of that procedure on an elective basis, where the abortion is being performed for non-health related reasons and there are equally safe medical procedures available. There are, however, rare and tragic situations that can occur in a woman's pregnancy in which, in a doctor's medical judgment, the use of this procedure may be necessary to save a woman's life or to protect her against serious injury to her health. In these situations, in which a woman and her family must make an awful choice, the Constitution requires, as it should, that the ability to choose this procedure be protected. In the past several months, I have heard from women who desperately wanted to have their babies, who were devastated to learn that their babies had fatal conditions and would not live, who wanted anything other than an abortion, but who were advised by their doctors that this procedure was their best chance to avert the risk of death or grave harm which, in some cases, would have included an inability to ever bear children again. For these women, this was not about choice--not about deciding against having a child. These babies were certain to perish before, during or shortly after birth, and the only question was how much grave damage was going to be done to the woman. I cannot sign H.R. 1833, as passed, because it fails to protect women in such dire circumstances--because by treating doctors who perform the procedure in these tragic cases as criminals, the bill poses a danger of serious harm to women. This bill, in curtailing the ability of women and their doctors to choose the procedure for sound medical reasons, violates the constitutional command that any law regulating abortion protect both the life and the health of the woman. The bill's overbroad criminal prohibition risks that women will suffer serious injury. That is why I implored Congress to add an exemption for the small number of compelling cases where selection of the procedure, in the medical judgment of the attending physician, was necessary to preserve the life of the woman or avert serious adverse consequences to her health. The life exception in the current bill only covers cases where the doctor believes that the woman will die. It fails to cover cases where, absent the procedure, serious physical harm, often including losing the ability to have more children, is very likely to occur. I told Congress that I would sign H.R. 1833 if it were amended to add an exception for serious health consequences. A bill amended in this way would strike a proper balance, remedying the constitutional and human defect of H.R. 1833. If such a bill were presented to me, I would sign it now. I understand the desire to eliminate the use of a procedure that appears inhumane. But to eliminate it without taking into consideration the rare and tragic circumstances in which its use may be necessary would be even more inhumane. The Congress chose not to adopt the sensible and constitutionally appropriate proposal I made, instead leaving women unprotected against serious health risks. As a result of this Congressional indifference to women's health, I cannot, in good conscience and consistent with my responsibility to uphold the law, sign this legislation. William J. Clinton. The White House, April 10, 1996. One Hundred Fourth Congress of the United States of America, at the Second Session, Begun and Held at the City of Washington on Wednesday, the Third Day of January, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety-six An Act To amend title 18, United States Code, to ban partial-birth abortions. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1995''. SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS. (a) In General.--Title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 73 the following: ``CHAPTER 74--PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS ``Sec. ``1531. Partial-birth abortions prohibited. ``Sec. 1531. Partial-birth abortions prohibited ``(a) Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. This paragraph shall not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury: Provided, That no other medical procedure would suffice for that purpose. This paragraph shall become effective one day after enactment. ``(b)(1) As used in this section, the term `partial-birth abortion' means an abortion in which the person performing the abortion partially vaginally delivers a living fetus before killing the fetus and completing the delivery. ``(2) As used in this section, the term `physician' means a doctor of medicine or osteopathy legally authorized to practice medicine and surgery by the State in which the doctor performs such activity, or any other individual legally authorized by the State to perform abortions: Provided, however, That any individual who is not a physician or not otherwise legally authorized by the State to perform abortions, but who nevertheless directly performs a partial-birth abortion, shall be subject to the provisions of this section. ``(c)(1) The father, if married to the mother at the time she receives a partial-birth abortion procedure, and if the mother has not attained the age of 18 years at the time of the abortion, the maternal grandparents of the fetus, may in a civil action obtain appropriate relief, unless the pregnancy resulted from the plaintiff's criminal conduct or the plaintiff consented to the abortion. ``(2) Such relief shall include-- ``(A) money damages for all injuries, psychological and physical, occasioned by the violation of this section; and ``(B) statutory damages equal to three times the cost of the partial-birth abortion. ``(d) A woman upon whom a partial-birth abortion is performed may not be prosecuted under this section, for a conspiracy to violate this section, or for an offense under section 2, 3, or 4 of this title based on a violation of this section.''. (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of chapters for part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 73 the following new item: ``74. Partial-birth abortions....................................1531''. Bill Emerson, Speaker of the House of Representatives pro tempore. Strom Thurmond, President of the Senate pro tempore. [Endorsement on back of bill:] I certify that this Act originated in the House of Representatives. Robin H. Carle, Clerk. <greek-d>
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