Prolife groups agree that the Partial-birth abortion Ban Act of 2003, which President Bush has promised to sign into law, may not save a single life. While it bans one form of abortion, doctors who want to get around the ban will merely begin to use another late-term procedure. Additionally, a long legal battle awaits, which may prohibit enforcement of the ban for years to come. But prolifers still believe it is a big step forward.
"I think it's a major victory for prolife Americans," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "This is the first time in 30 years that we've seen reflected in public policy the cultural shift that has been taking place, and that is back toward respecting life." Perkins added, "I think it is significant that on the same day the Senate voted to outlaw this grisly procedure, the [Florida] legislature under the leadership of Governor [Jeb] Bush took action to save Terri Schiavo's life. So you see two elected bodies stepping in to protect innocent life, both on the front end and on what some consider the back end of life." Schiavo's feeding tube had been removed under a court order to allow her to die. Her parents have been fighting to keep her alive.
"Is [the ban] significant in its own right?" said Richard Cizik, National Association of Evangelicals president of governmental affairs. "Of course, for the simple reason that evangelicals have learned over the years that we have to win this incrementally."
"We have come with our toes to the line of crossing over into barbarism," said Perkins, "and we've said we're not going to go there."
But not all prolife groups are so upbeat. "As we're celebrating this perceived victory, we need to remember that a ban on partial-birth abortion does ...1