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July 7, 1999

The Law, the AMA, and Partial-Birth Abortion—Reply

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(1):23-27. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-1-jbk0707

In Reply: Legislation intended to ban intact D&X (HR 1122)1 has been criticized as being vague despite the AMA's efforts to clarify and improve it. The legislative language used in the bill conveys the intent and purpose of the legislation, namely to specifically prohibit intact D&X. Furthermore, when reviewing the legislative history, Congress went into great detail to describe exactly what is meant by intact D&X, and to distinguish it from other abortive procedures. The legislative intent would be obvious to any court that wished to review the presentation made as Congress passed that bill. The intent of the legislation is not to limit access to abortion, but to prohibit a specific procedure. In fact, the number of abortions performed will likely not be affected by the ban because alternative procedures are available. Reasonable physicians clearly are capable of understanding the act's intention. A ban on intact D&X would not limit a woman's opportunity to terminate her pregnancy or place an undue burden on her; it simply spares her from an inappropriate procedure.

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