Saturday, March 12, 2005

Abortion collides with bankruptcy in Senate: "The ultimate values issue, abortion, collided Tuesday in the United States Senate with one of the ultimate money issues, bankruptcy.

"On Tuesday the Senate voted 53-46 to reject a proposal, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., that would have stopped violent protesters, whether at abortion clinics or any other lawful business or service, from using bankruptcy law to avoid paying court-ordered fines.

"In this, the first battle over abortion in the new Congress, two Democrats, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, joined with 51 Republicans in voting to scuttle the Schumer amendment.

"Four Republicans joined with 42 Democrats to support the measure. The four Republicans were Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

"Following the vote to kill the Schumer amendment, the Senate then voted 69-31 to shut off debate and proceed to final passage of the bill, which will come later this week.

"The defeat of the Schumer amendment and the success of the cloture vote were major and long-delayed victories for both anti-abortion groups and for credit card companies and retailers.

"Although Schumer hinted from time to time that he might try to filibuster the bankruptcy bill if it did not include his amendment, the cloture vote revealed Tuesday that 14 Senate Democrats wanted no further delays in a vote on final passage of the bill."

"One of the Senate’s leading anti-abortion advocates, Sen. Tom Coburn, R- Okla., said late Monday Schumer's amendment was unnecessary.

"'There hasn't been one' anti-abortion protester whose debts 'have been discharged under the present law,' Coburn said. 'There hasn't been a case where they have been able to hide. If you're going to do that, do it to anybody who breaks the law. How about a rabid environmentalist that spikes trees? Should they be able to use the bankruptcy court?'"

This amendment was not as innocuous as reports indicate. Just as he intended in 2002, and for years prior, Sen. Schumer wants to make sure that any pro-life sidewalk counselor near an abortion clinic could potentially have to pay money to abortion providers for the rest of their lives by keeping them permanently bankrupt.

"'Not a comma has been changed' since 2002, Schumer said."

The National Retail Federation is happy the Schumer amendment failed, too. They're scoring both votes, too!

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