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HOUSE SUSTAINS BUSH’S VETO ON ABORTION MEASURE

SHARE HOUSE SUSTAINS BUSH’S VETO ON ABORTION MEASURE

The House Wednesday sustained President Bush's veto of a bill that would have allowed federally financed Medicaid abortions for victims of rape and incest.

The vote was 231 to 191 in favor of override, but that fell 51 votes short of the two-thirds margin needed.Abortion-rights supporters, who had won a surprising victory two weeks ago for more liberal abortion provisions, failed in Wednesday's vote to end a prohibition that has been written in federal law for nearly a decade.

Supporters of expanding federally financed abortions for poor women had acknowledged they faced a difficult task in trying to raise a two-thirds House majority for an override. They won a 216-206 vote two weeks ago.

An override also would have require two-thirds approval by the Senate.

The vote followed an emotion-packed debate on the House floor, in which abortion-rights forces condemned Bush's veto as an unconscionable infringement on the rights of poor women and children victimized by rape and incest - and one that will bring political damage to Republicans.

"This president can't stop (Panamanian leader Manuel Antonio) Noriega. He can't decide what to do to roll back communism . . . But boy, can he show the poor women of this country who's boss," said Rep. Les AuCoin, D-Ore., an abortion-rights leader.