What: All Issues : Family Planning : Abortion : S 3. Ban on "Dilation and Extraction" Abortions/Vote to Reaffirm the Supreme Court's Ruling in Roe v. Wade to Uphold Abortion Rights. (2003 senate Roll Call 48)
 Who: All Members
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S 3. Ban on "Dilation and Extraction" Abortions/Vote to Reaffirm the Supreme Court's Ruling in Roe v. Wade to Uphold Abortion Rights.
senate Roll Call 48     Mar 12, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

An important goal for Republicans in 2003 was passage of a ban on what they called "partial birth" abortions but the medical community called "intact dilation and extraction"-a procedure used in rare cases when the woman's health was as risk but the pregnancy had progressed past a certain point. Progressives worried that this ban-though limited in some ways-was part of a larger attempt to ban abortions in general. To defend that more fundamental right to choose, Harkin (D-IA) proposed a non-binding amendment to the bill that would express the "sense of the Senate" that the Roe v. Wade decision was correct and should not be overturned. The legal implications of the vote were small, but politically it offered a rare opportunity to put Senators on record as for or against a right to an abortion. The result showed that support for abortion rights was stronger than the ban on dilation and extraction would have suggested. Though opposition to the ban was concentrated among Progressives and Northern Democrats in general, the vote to affirm Roe added all but five Democrats and even included nine Republicans. The final tally was 52-46, and the language in support of Roe was added to the bill.

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