Sep 22, 2003
With its vote on September 17, the U.S. Senate joins the House of Representatives to pass the first federal law that openly reduces the right to abortion since abortion was made legal in 1973. The bill, expected to be signed by President Bush shortly, makes certain second and third trimester abortion measures illegal, even those which protect the health of the mother.
The vote was 93 to 0, meaning that even so-called liberal senators who pretend to support women's access to abortion agreed to its passage. In fact, the strategy which got it passed was designed by Barbara Boxer, a liberal Democrat from California. She admitted in the debate before the vote that her amendment to claim the Senate "supported Roe v. Wade" was an amendment that would be stripped out of the final version of the bill. Nonetheless she orchestrated the charade that resulted in a unanimous vote attacking women.
A majority in the country has said repeatedly it supports the right to abortion. Instead of representative democracy, we get legislation of certain religious views. Instead of protecting what goes on between a woman and the physician she consults, the government proposes to interfere in our most private decisions.
Before the last election, some liberals and union leaders argued a vote for Democrats would at least prevent George Bush coming to power, where he would promote anti-abortion views. The Senate vote shows that women can no more count on Democrats to support their access to abortion than they could expect Republicans to do so.