clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Clinton again vetoes ban on some late-term abortions

Defying the Republican Congress a second time, President Clinton vetoed a ban on certain late-term abortion procedures Friday. Conceding the operation seems inhumane, he said denying it in "rare and tragic circumstances" would be worse.

Republicans instantly vowed a fight to override Clinton. One lawmaker said he had now earned the title, "Abortion President."The president, who signed the veto papers privately and without fanfare in the Oval Office, chastised Congress for ignoring his oft-stated demand that the controversial procedure be allowed in cases where a woman's health was endangered.

"As a result of this congressional indifference to women's health, I cannot in good conscience sign this legislation," Clinton said in his official veto notice to the House.

Acknowledging that the procedure "appears inhumane," Clinton added that "to eliminate it without taking into consideration the rare and tragic circumstances in which its use may be necessary would be even more inhumane."

Last year, Clinton vetoed similar legislation for the same reason. It was an election-year issue then, and he had an emotional veto ceremony surrounded by women who testified to the necessity of the late-term surgery.

Congress could not muster the votes to override him then. And the Senate passed this year's bill in May by three votes less than the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override his veto.

The House's separate vote on Wednesday, 296-132, was by a margin that would be more than enough to override. But both chambers must vote by two-thirds majorities.