Abortion and Powers of President (Re: McChesney: Why I'm Voting for Ralph

Nathan Newman nathan.newman at yale.edu
Fri Aug 11 09:19:07 PDT 2000

On Fri, 11 Aug 2000, Michael Yates wrote:

> Robert McChesney's arguments for Nader are compelling. He did not
> mention the right to abortion, but the truth is that for many poor (and
> not so poor) women, abortions are not now available. In many states
> there are no or only a few places where a woman can safely have an
> abortion. And most medical schools no longer teach students abortion
> procedure. Will a Gore presidency change this?

It is worthwhile looking over NARAL's report on exactly what powers the Presideny has to expand or restrict the availability of abortion, aside from the legislative changes that the President can either veto (as Clinton has done repeatedly against GOP efforts) or to approve them.

See http://www.naral.com/mediaresources/publications/president/index.html

Also, note the 1999 Senate votes that were about restricting or expanding abortion choice for those the government effects most directly, namely its own employees both in the military and in civilian insurance. The GOP has sought to make it nearly impossible for military personnel to get abortions at all and to make it impossible for the civilian workforce to get insurance with abortion coverage.

And Lieberman voted right on each of these areas, including "partial birth" abortion.


1. Women in the Military. FY 00/01 Department of Defense Authorization Act, S 1059. Smith (R-NH) motion to table (kill) the Murray (D-WA)/Snowe (R-ME) amendment to repeal current law. Current law prohibits military personnel and their dependents from obtaining privately funded abortions at overseas military hospitals, with exceptions only in cases of rape or incest. Passed 51-49; a pro-choice vote (+) was against the motion to table (5/26/99).

2. Federal Employees Health Insurance. FY 00 Treasury, Postal Service Appropriations, S 1282. Boxer (D-CA) motion to table (kill) the DeWine (R-OH) amendment to prohibit federal employees and their dependents from choosing a health insurance plan with abortion coverage through the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program, except in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment. Rejected 47-51; a pro-choice vote (+) was in support of the motion to table (7/1/99).

3. Roe v. Wade Resolution. "Partial-Birth" Abortion Ban Act of 1999, S 1692. Harkin (D-IA)/Boxer (D-CA) non-binding resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was "appropriate," and secures "an important constitutional right" and should not be overturned. Passed 51-47; a pro-choice vote (+) was in support of the resolution (10/21/99).

4. Fetal Tissue Research. "Partial-Birth" Abortion Ban Act of 1999, S 1692. Smith (R-NH) amendment to require any individual involved in fetal tissue research to disclose confidential information to the government. This would have included disclosure of the names and locations of anyone involved in the transfer of fetal tissue - from the doctor who performs the abortion, to the truck driver, to the research scientist exposing each link in the chain of delivery to anti-choice harassment and violence. Rejected 46-51; a pro-choice vote (+) was against the amendment (10/21/99).

5. Abortion Procedures Ban. "Partial-Birth" Abortion Ban Act of 1999, S 1692. Final passage of the Santorum (R-PA) bill to ban a variety of safe and common abortion procedures throughout pregnancy. The bill contains no exception to protect a woman's health, and under the bill, physicians could be jailed, fined, and/or subject to civil lawsuits. Passed 63-34; a pro-choice vote (+) was against the bill (10/21/99).

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