Senator Cites Abortion Ruling Side by Side With VT Tragedy

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:32pm EDT

( - Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Wednesday listed the Supreme Court's decision to uphold a ban on partial birth abortions along with the killing of 32 people at Virginia Tech, in describing what she called a hard and emotional week.

"I know this is a very hard and emotional week given everything that's happened," Boxer said at the opening of a speech on global warming in Washington, D.C. She then listed "continuing violence in Iraq ... the accident that our good, dear friend Gov. Corzine is suffering from, the Virginia Tech tragedy ... and today a Supreme Court decision that I believe endangers women's health." (hear audio)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a federal ban on the abortion procedure also called intact dilation and extraction. Pro-life activists characterize the procedure, in which a baby is partially delivered before being killed, as gruesome.

Opponents of the federal ban criticize its lack of a provision that would allow the procedure in cases where the pregnancy endangers the mother's health. The ban does allow for the procedure in cases that risk the mother's life.

Boxer was among 34 senators who voted against the ban when it was passed in 2003. She has been a staunch supporter of abortion rights, earning a 100 percent "pro-choice" rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2006.

On Monday, Virginia Tech student Cho Shueng-hui killed 32 students and faculty members before shooting himself. President Bush called it "a day of sadness for our entire nation."

Boxer also referred to an accident suffered by New Jersey Gov. John Corzine, who was critically injured last week in a car crash. Corzine's SUV was reportedly traveling 91 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone, and the governor was not wearing a safety belt. He was in critical but stable condition as of Tuesday night.

Natalie Ravitz, a spokeswoman for Boxer, told Cybercast News Service in an email that Boxer was not trying to equate the events.

"Senator Boxer clearly said that this has been a hard and emotional week and then listed some of the events of the week that have been upsetting to her," Ravitz said. "She made no comparison among any of those events."

Boxer's colleague, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) came under fire earlier this week for comparing the violence at the Blacksburg, Va., college campus to the "verbal violence" of radio shock jock Don Imus, who was recently fired for using denigrating comments about a women's basketball team.

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