Senate Won't Swallow Bankruptcy BillPoison Pill This Time

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WASHINGTON - (03/09/05) -- A group of anti-abortion senatorsled the charge against the so-called Schumer amendment Tuesday,prompting the Senate to turn aside a bid to add a provision to thebankruptcy bill to bar abortion clinic protesters from shieldingtheir assets under bankruptcy. "I've been around here long enoughto know a poison pill when I see one--and make no mistake--this isa poison pill," insisted pro-life Sen. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, duringTuesday's debate over the amendment that killed the bankruptcy billin each of the last two congresses. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., likeHatch an abortion opponent, said there were already enoughsafeguards to prevent perpetrators of violence from shielding theirassets under bankruptcy. But Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said theprovision was necessary to prevent abortion protesters convicted ofviolent crimes against abortion clinics and doctors from filing forbankruptcy to prevent victims from attaching their assets in acivil suit. "What this amendment says is 'if you use violence as apolitical goal and you are sued, you can't then go back and ask thebankruptcy court for help in protecting your assets,'" saidSchumer, explaining the amendment is aimed at all violentprotesters, as he removed the term 'abortion' from the language."This equally applies to extremists of the far right or the farleft. Anyone who violently or misguidedly blocks access to anylegal service; pro-life or eco-terrorists, alike, it would applyequally." The defeat of the Schumer amendment clears the way forfinal Senate passage of the credit union-backed bill, expectedWednesday, after which House leaders have pledged quick passage ofthe measure.

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