Late-Term Bill Wilting

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WASHINGTON: Despite the American Medical Association's endorsement of the Republican's late-term abortion bill, the proposal fell three votes short in the Senate of the two-thirds majority needed to override an expected veto from President Clinton. The final tally was 64-36, with Democratic Minority Leader Tom Daschle and one other Democrat voting for the GOP measure. By the end of the day, TIME’s Karen Tumulty reports, the outlook for the bill that looked virtually veto-proof in the morning was darkening fast. The bill would outlaw the late-term procedure except when a woman is at risk of death and no other medical procedure can be used to terminate the pregnancy. The doctors group agreed to support the measure after Republican leaders incorporated language giving physicians greater protection against prosecution when they decide a late-term abortion is medically necessary. But with Clinton now in a commanding position, Republicans must decide whether to send the bill to the White House as is, or incorporate some of the changes the President has demanded. Karen Tumulty reports that the measure most likely will languish before returning to center stage. "The same thing is going to happen as last year -- they're not going to get anywhere. They can try to renegotiate the bill and come up with some new version of it, and they may do that. But right now, everyone is just sick of the subject. So it doesn't seem, at least for the time being, that the issue will move any further."