McCAIN VOTES TO OVERTURN PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION BAN VETO
September 18, 1998
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator John McCain today voted to override
President Clinton's veto of a partial-birth abortion ban, citing a
recent incident at a medical clinic in Phoenix as one of the reasons for
outlawing the procedure. The following is text of a floor speech McCain
delivered before the vote:
"Mr. President, I come to the Senate floor today to speak on behalf of
millions of defenseless unborn children who cannot speak for themselves.
If they could speak, I know that they would ask for a chance to live.
Tragically, too many unborn children are not given a choice and they
lose their chance at life to abortion.
"We are not here today to debate the legality of abortion. We are here
to discuss ending partial-birth abortion -- a particularly gruesome
procedure that would be outlawed today but for the President's veto last
year of a national ban.
"Banning partial-birth abortions goes far beyond traditional pro-life or
pro-choice views. No matter what your personal opinion regarding the
legalization of abortion, we should all be appalled and outraged by the
practice of partial-birth abortions. This procedure is inhumane and
extremely brutal entailing the partial delivery of a healthy baby who is
then killed by having its vibrant brain stabbed and suctioned out of the
"This is simply barbaric. I have heard from thousands of people in my
home state of Arizona who are outraged that this brutal procedure is
permitted. Many of them have differing views regarding the legalization
of abortion, but they all concur that partial-birth abortions are
particularly cruel and must be stopped.
"Arizonans were recently reminded about the devastating effects for
unborn children of partial-birth abortions. On June 30th of this year, a
physician in Phoenix attempted to perform a partial-birth abortion. Dr.
John Biskind of the A-Z Women's Center was aborting what he believed was
a 23-week-old baby.
"After beginning the procedure, Dr. Biskind realized that the child was
actually a 37-week, 6-pound baby girl. He immediately stopped the
abortion procedure and delivered the baby girl. She suffered a fractured
skull and facial lacerations, but thankfully is now recovering with a
loving family who adopted her."
"This deplorable incident should never have occurred. It could have been
prevented, sparing this little girl, now known as Baby Phoenix, the
physical and emotional trauma of nearly being killed at birth.
"If a national ban on partial-birth abortion had been the law, this
Arizona doctor would not have been performing such a horrific procedure
on a viable 23-week-old baby -- let alone 37-week-old Baby Phoenix.
"Clearly, this near-tragedy illustrates the urgent need for a ban on
partial-birth abortions in our nation. We simply can not allow this
heinous procedure to continue taking the lives of viable, healthy
"Some would argue that abortion, including partial-birth abortion, is a
matter of choice -- a woman's choice. Respectfully, I must disagree.
"What about the choice of the unborn baby? Why does a defenseless,
innocent child not have a choice in their own destiny?
"Some may answer that the unborn baby is merely a fetus and is not a
baby until he or she leaves the mother's womb. Again, I disagree,
particularly, in the case of infants who are killed by partial-birth
"Most partial-birth abortions occur on babies who are between 20 and 24
weeks old. Viability, 'the capacity for meaningful life outside the
womb, albeit with artificial aid' as defined by the United States
Supreme Court, is considered by the medical community to begin at 20
weeks for an unborn baby. Most, if not all, of the babies who are
aborted by the partial-birth procedure could be delivered and live.
Instead, they are partially delivered and then murdered. These children
are never given a choice or a chance to live.
"Today, we have to make a choice. We can choose to protect our nation's
most valuable resource -- our children. We can choose to give a tomorrow
full of endless possibilities to unborn children throughout our nation.
We can choose to save thousands from being murdered at the hands of
"Or we can choose to allow this barbaric procedure to continue,
permitting doctors to kill more innocent, unborn children.
"We each have a choice, a choice which unborn children are denied. We
must make the right choice when we vote today -- the choice to save
thousands of unborn children by banning partial birth abortions in this