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OCTOBER 21, 2003
7:00 PM
CONTACT:  National Abortion Federation
Alyssa Barnum 202-667-5881
NAF Lawsuit to Quickly Follow Final Congressional Passage of Ban on Safe Abortion Procedures
WASHINGTON - October 21 - The Senate today voted for final passage of a ban on safe abortion procedures, which will soon be signed into law by President Bush. To prevent this dangerous and unconstitutional ban from taking effect, the National Abortion Federation (NAF), represented by the ACLU, will immediately file suit in federal court to block its enforcement.

"A federal ban on safe medical procedures endangers women's health," said Vicki Saporta, president of NAF. "Medical decisions must be made by medical professionals -- not politicians."

"We will take this fight from the Capitol to the courtroom to safeguard the lives and health of women. Doctors shouldn't have to choose between providing the best possible care to their patients or going to jail. The ban passed today is bad medicine and bad public policy."

NAF members care for more than half the women who choose abortion each year in the United States. "On behalf of our members, we thank the members of Congress who voted to defeat this dangerous bill. They stood up to protect women's health and doctors' ability to continue to make appropriate medical decisions," stated Saporta.

In June 2000 the Supreme Court ruled in Stenberg vs. Carhart that a Nebraska ban on so-called "partial-birth abortion" was unconstitutional for two reasons: it did not include an exception to protect a woman's health and its language was so vague that the ban would have prohibited more than one abortion procedure, including the safest and most common methods performed after 12 weeks of pregnancy and well before fetal viability. The legislation passed today has those same two flaws. In every state where these bans have been challenged, the courts have declared them unconstitutional and blocked their enforcement.

The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada. NAF is dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible.


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