Doctors Caution Against Abortion Procedures Ban
In the wake of the passage of the so-called "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban of 2003," doctors are raising concerns that the broad language of the bill could block all abortions after the twelfth week of gestation. According to the Boston Globe, doctors are fearful that language in the bill could also ban the more common second trimester abortion method known as dilation and evacuation (D&E). The bill does not make a distinction between D&E and dilation and extraction (D&X), and as a result all D&E procedures are likely to fall under the restrictions laid out in the ban.
If this ban becomes law, a woman who decides to terminate a pregnancy because her baby has severe health problems or abnormalities may not have a safe abortion option. Dr. Stephen Carr, a maternal fetal medicine specialist, asserts "if the ban goes through and truly eliminates this as a choice, women who find out that something is terribly wrong with their babies will have to remain pregnant," reports the Boston Globe.
The abortion procedures ban was approved by Congress earlier this month and will now go to President Bush to sign. Abortion rights advocates have vowed to immediately challenge the constitutionality of the bill in court. The US Supreme Court struck down a similar state law in 2000 in Stenberg v. Carhart.
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Media Resources: Boston Globe 10/28/03; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 10/28/03; Feminist Daily News