U.S. Not Ready for Total Abortion Ban, Bush Says

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Oct 28, 2:08 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush said on Tuesday the United States is not ready for a total abortion ban, but he would sign a ban just approved by Congress on what opponents of the procedure call "partial birth" abortion.
"Yes, I'll sign the ban on partial birth abortion," Bush said at a White House news conference. "And no, I don't think the culture has changed to the extent that the American people or the Congress would totally ban abortions."

The Senate on Oct. 21 approved the ban on the procedure, sending the bill to Bush for his signature. The House of Representatives previously passed the bill.

Both houses of Congress have held prolonged debates on this specific procedure since 1995 and Congress has approved a ban by large margins. However, then-President Bill Clinton vetoed it because it did not contain an exception to protect the health of the woman.

Under the bill that has gone to Bush, a doctor could face up to two years in prison as well as civil lawsuits for performing a "partial birth" abortion, defined as intentionally killing a fetus as it is being delivered. The bill's sponsors say it entails sticking a sharp object into the base of the fetal skull.