- The Washington Times - Monday, January 20, 2003

Pro-life activists marking this week's 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision say they have their first chance in years to restrict abortion now that Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House.
"We will pass the first significant pro-life legislation actually limiting abortions in 30 years," said Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, who is a leading opponent of abortion. He predicted that Congress would move quickly to pass a measure banning partial-birth abortion.
Congress passed a measure twice, in 1996 and 1997, banning the procedure, in which the baby is partially delivered and then its skull is punctured. President Clinton vetoed the ban each time. The House passed the measure again last year, but the Democrat-controlled Senate never took up the measure.
"We will pass a partial-birth abortion ban," Mr. Brownback said. "That's going to hearten people. It's been a long fight. We're finally turning some of the battle."
President Bush has said he would sign such a bill, one of several abortion-related measures Republicans will push this legislative session. Their optimism is expected to be apparent Wednesday, when thousands of marchers converge on Washington to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision three decades ago that struck down state laws against abortion.
"I think we'll hear a great deal of hyperbole about Roe being at risk from the abortion side. I hope they're right," said Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican. "From our side, we're going to assert even more, with compassion but with earnestness, that the holocaust of the unborn has to stop."
But Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, said passing pro-life bills will continue to be difficult in the 100-member Senate, where 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster and bring a bill to a vote. The Senate has 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats and one independent.
"This is not a Senate that's going to be approving sweeping legislation to challenge Roe," Mr. Johnson said. "It is a Congress now in which we have a chance for a fair debate on these sorts of reforms that are supported by most Americans."
Pro-choice leaders, who also have a series of events planned for the anniversary, acknowledge that the advantage in Congress has switched to abortion foes. "The Republicans are controlling every branch of government, and we have now entered the anti-choice trifecta," said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat.
Mrs. Maloney and others pointed to a series of actions Mr. Bush had taken administratively, including an executive order barring U.S. aid to international groups that supported abortion and the withholding of $34 million from international population-control programs overseas.
The administration announced last year it would begin classifying developing fetuses as unborn children as a way of extending prenatal care to low-income pregnant women a move denounced by pro-choice activists. Mr. Bush also declared yesterday as National Sanctity of Human Life Day.
"This administration and the anti-choice members of Congress are weaving a pernicious web of anti-choice attacks," said Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

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