Senate panel OKs abortion-rights bill Proponents put down efforts to delay or kill Freedom of Choice Act.

July 02, 1992|By Boston Globe

WASHINGTON -- A key Senate panel has approved legislation establishing the right to an abortion in federal law, defying last-minute action by opponents intended to halt the bill.

The move by the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee sent the measure, called the Freedom of Choice Act, to the full Senate. A twin bill was approved by a crucial House committee Tuesday, but the legislation faces an expected veto from President Bush.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the committee's chairman, pledged action on the bill this month.

The parliamentary maneuvering and amendments offered to the bill yesterday gave a taste of the bitter legislative showdown expected over abortion issues.

One opponent of the Freedom of Choice Act attempted to halt all discussion of it yesterday, using a parliamentary maneuver that allows a senator to stop a hearing if it continues more than two hours after the Senate convenes.

Several proposed amendments attempted to bring the bill into line with Monday's Supreme Court decision, which upheld but restricted the basic right to an abortion under the 1973 ruling Roe vs. Wade.

The panel voted to table the amendments, which may be offered again when the full Senate votes.

President Bush said yesterday on national television that he will continue to oppose abortion rights.

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