Abortion Amendment to Bankruptcy Bill Comes to a Vote

By Justin Torres | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - The Senate is set to vote today on a sprawling bankruptcy reform bill that includes a controversial amendment relating to abortion protests. Another Democratic amendment relating to gun manufacturers failed in voting, 29-68.

The bill, S. 625 - sponsored by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and commonly known as the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999 - featured hundreds of amendments from Senators on a variety of topics relating to streamlining U.S. bankruptcy law.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) introduced two amendments to the bill that affect abortion protestors and gun manufacturers.

The amendment would exempt protestors who damage abortion clinics or are found guilty of "actual or alleged violation of a court order or injunction that protects access to a health care facility or the provision of health services," including "reproductive health services."

The amendment is aimed at protestors prosecuted under the Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) or the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances act (FACE).

Andrea Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition said in a release that the amendment would "punish innocent pro-life protesters who are falsely accused under the FACE and RICO laws. Pro-life protesters convicted under these laws are forced to pay heavy and burdensome fines that are not required of others filing bankruptcy."

Levin's amendment would have exempted gun manufacturers found guilty of "fraud, recklessness, misrepresentation, nuisance, negligence, or product liability" - the series of charges made against firearms companies in a series of civil suits filed by localities in the past year.

The amendment failed with 29 ayes, 68 noes, and one present.

Vie President Al Gore left New Hampshire, the site of his narrow presidential primary victory Tuesday, to be present for the voting should he be required to break a tie.