Partial-Birth Abortion - June 30, 2000

Partial-Birth Abortion A news story in the Thursday, June 29 New York Times added a 28th Amendment to the Constitution, an "amendment allowing abortion," MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey observed. Friday's paper carried four corrections, but none dealt with this erroneous additional constitutional amendment. The error came in the 18th paragraph of a "news analysis" piece by Washington Bureau reporter Richard Berke about reaction from the presidential candidates to the Supreme Court decision overturning Nebraska's ban of partial-birth abortions. Berke asserted: "The court's ruling is discouraging for Mr. Bush and many Republicans not only because it gives Mr. Gore another rationale to talk about the court. In addition, the Republicans' embrace in the last few years of eliminating late-term abortion allowed the party to maintain its anti-abortion position in a way that is more palatable to many voters than suggesting overturning the Constitutional amendment allowing abortion. Even many Democrats who favor abortion rights tell pollsters they object to late-term abortions." Of course, abortion is legal now because of the Roe v Wade decision, a creative interpretation by a majority of the Supreme Court in 1973 of a "right to privacy" in the Bill of Rights, but not a constitutional "amendment" which requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress followed by ratification by three-fourths of the states.