End late-term abortion debate

Unconstitutional: House panel should kill bill that poses a danger to women and physicians.

April 06, 1999

NO matter how they phrase it, anti-abortion advocates' efforts to craft a bill banning so-called "partial-birth" abortions fail to pass constitutional muster. When the measure comes up for a vote in the House Environmental Matters Committee, it should be killed.

Maryland's attorney general says the most recent effort is unconstitutional on several grounds. It is a back-door attempt by abortion opponents to chip away at the legal right of a woman to have the procedure in this state.

Abortion decisions are best left to a woman and her physician. The late-term procedure is rarely employed, usually when the life of the woman is endangered. To legislate what a doctor can and cannot do procedurally in the operating room ought to alarm everyone.

The committee should kill this bill for another reason. It stands no chance of becoming law. Gov. Parris N. Glendening says he'll veto it. The Senate's 25-22 vote approving the bill isn't large enough to override that veto.

The House shouldn't waste valuable time in the last week of the legislative session. This is a divisive and emotionally charged issue that cannot be changed by lawmakers this year.

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