WASHINGTON — Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) threatened today to filibuster any proposed new federal restrictions on abortions, putting several appropriations bills in danger.
"I've had it," Metzenbaum told the Senate. "No more amendments that go beyond the present law on abortion."
Metzenbaum said he was prepared to "spend a long time . . . to filibuster" to prevent Senate passage of new abortion restrictions.
Noting all the problems facing Congress, Metzenbaum said it seemed that "all we have time for is to debate abortion. If that's what you want, fine with me. No more abortion language."
"The line in the sand has been drawn," he said.
The Ohio senator interrupted debate on the $11.9-billion appropriations bill for the State, Justice and Commerce departments to voice his threat against anti-abortion amendments.
The bill was later put aside temporarily for work on other legislation and was expected to be taken up again Friday.
2 Amendments Anticipated
Two amendments to the money bill, dealing with abortions, were anticipated by Sen. Warren B. Rudman (R-N.H.), floor manager for the bill.
One already offered would restore House-passed language banning the Legal Services Corp. from using federal money to finance abortions, and the other, scheduled to be offered, would outlaw federally financed abortions in prisons.
Metzenbaum's threat to filibuster could jeopardize passage of the pending State-Justice-Commerce appropriations bill and possibly others.
The money bill for the District of Columbia has been held up by threats from Sen. Gordon J. Humphrey (R-N.H.) that he would offer anti-abortion language.