Override of Abortion Bill Fails, But Debate Continues

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Now that the Senate has failed to override President Clinton's veto of a bill that would ban partial-birth abortions, the issue is off the legislative table for the year, but look for it in the televised presidential debates. That could potentially do serious political damage to Clinton, says TIME Washington correspondent Karen Tumulty. "This is one of the few issues in which the Republicans clearly have the polls on their side," she says. "I'm not surprised they plan to use it to make Clinton look like an extremist." To save himself from an all-out Republican skewering, Tumulty says, Clinton will have to come up with a good explanation for vetoing the bill. The President has said he rejected the legislation because it failed to allow doctors to perform the procedure if the mother's health were at risk (it specifically allows them to do so if the mother's life is in danger). Most congressional Democrats say they would have backed the bill had it included the broader health provision. That's an alarming wakeup call for staunch pro-choicers, who for the first time since Roe vs. Wade have to acknowledge that support for abortion within their own ranks is narrowing. -->