The Corner

President’s Pba Ban Remarks

Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I’m pleased that all

of you have joined us as the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 becomes the

law of the land. (Applause.) For years, a terrible form of violence has been

directed against children who are inches from birth, while the law looked the

other way. Today, at last, the American people and our government have

confronted the violence and come to the defense of the innocent child.

(Applause.)

I want to thank you all for coming. Many of you have worked long and hard

to see this bill come to fruition, and we thank you for your efforts.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, Mr. President. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I see some members of my Cabinet have come. I appreciate

the good work of the Attorney General, John Ashcroft. (Applause.) Secretary of

the Department of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, is here. Thank

you, Tommy. (Applause.) There are a lot of members of the Senate and House

here today, I want to thank you all for passing this important legislation. I’m

glad you’re here. (Applause.)

The primary Senate sponsor is with us, Senator Rick Santorum. (Applause.)

Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Mike DeWine helped, as well, in the Senate.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.) Steve Chabot was the primary House

sponsor, and Steve is with us. Thanks for coming, Steve. (Applause.) I’m

thankful that our Speaker is with us today. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate you

coming. (Applause.) The Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, as well. Thank you for

coming, Tom. (Applause.)

I’d like to mention three other members of the House. Henry Hyde is with

us today. Mr. Chairman, we appreciate you coming. (Applause.) Jim Oberstar is

with us. Jim, thank you for being here, sir, I appreciate you coming.

(Applause.) Bart Stupak, from Michigan, is with us, as well. Thanks for

coming, Bart, glad you’re here. (Applause.)

I appreciate His Eminence, Cardinal Egan, is with us today. Thank you very

much, sir. (Applause.)

In passing this legislation, members of the House and Senate made a studied

decision based upon compelling evidence. The best case against partial birth

abortion is a simple description of what happens and to whom it happens. It

involves the partial delivery of a live boy or girl, and a sudden, violent end

of that life. Our nation owes its children a different and better welcome.

(Applause.) The bill I am about to sign protecting innocent new life from this

practice reflects the compassion and humanity of America.

In the course of the congressional debate, the facts became clear. Each

year, thousands of partial birth abortions are committed. As Doctor C. Everett

Koop, the pediatrician and former Surgeon General has pointed out, the majority

of partial birth abortions are not required by medical emergency. As Congress

has found, the practice is widely regarded within the medical profession as

unnecessary, not only cruel to the child, but harmful to the mother, and a

violation of medical ethics. (Applause.)

The facts about partial birth abortion are troubling and tragic, and no

lawyer’s brief can make them seem otherwise. (Applause.) By acting to prevent

this practice, the elected branches of our government have affirmed a basic

standard of humanity, the duty of the strong to protect the weak. The wide

agreement amongst men and women on this issue, regardless of political party,

shows that bitterness in political debate can be overcome by compassion and the

power of conscience. And the executive branch will vigorously defend this law

against any who would try to overturn it in the courts. (Applause.)

America stands for liberty, for the pursuit of happiness and for the

unalienable right of life. And the most basic duty of government is to defend

the life of the innocent. Every person, however frail or vulnerable, has a

place and a purpose in this world. Every person has a special dignity. This

right to life cannot be granted or denied by government, because it does not

come from government, it comes from the Creator of life. (Applause.)

In the debate about the rights of the unborn, we are asked to broaden the

circle of our moral concern. We’re asked to live out our calling as Americans.

We’re asked to honor our own standards, announced on the day of our founding in

the Declaration of Independence. We’re asked by our convictions and tradition

and compassion to build a culture of life, and make this a more just and

welcoming society. And today, we welcome vulnerable children into the care and

protection of Americans. (Applause.)

The late Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey once said that: when we look

to the unborn child, the real issue is not when life begins, but when love

begins. (Applause.) This is the generous and merciful spirit of our country at

its best. This spirit is reflected in the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of

2003, which I am now honored to sign into law. God bless. (Applause.)

(The bill is signed.) (Applause.) Thank you, all. (Applause.)

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