WASHINGTON — The Senate approved an amendment today that protects hospitals and other institutions that receive federal funds from ever being forced to perform abortions.
In a victory for conservatives, the Senate voted 56 to 39 for an amendment offered by Sen. John C. Danforth (R-Mo.) that would ensure that institutions that receive federal funds are not forced to pay for or perform abortions if it conflicts with their religious or moral beliefs.
Although opponents of the amendment pointed out that no institution has ever been forced to perform an abortion against its will, conservatives said they wanted to protect against any future interpretation of the law.
Danforth warned that passage of an abortion resolution without his amendment "will open the door . . . which will have effects which most of us would believe outrageous. The question is whether we want to open the possibility that a hospital affiliated with the Catholic Church must perform abortions . . . whether Notre Dame has to provide health insurance which would cover abortions."