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!!!!!!!! Search error!  If the URL ends something like .htm/  or .htm# delete the character(s) after .htm and hit return.

ABORTION NEWS

From 2001-JULY to DEC.

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Background information on many aspects of abortion is found in individual essays, e.g. public opinion, clinic protests, clinic violence, parental notification, abortion methods, and post abortion syndrome. Information about the use of stem cells is elsewhere.

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News items:

bullet2001-JUL-7: USA: Fetus described as "a targeted low-income child:" President Bush has proposed changing the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to define a fetus as a "targeted low-income child." This would have the direct effect of making money available to the states to fund pre-natal care for poor pregnant women. Some pro-choice groups are concerned that a hidden purpose may be to overturn Roe v. Wade. Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority Foundation said "Basically what they're trying to do is establish a word game so they have a stronger position on overturning Roe v.  Wade." 1
bullet2001-JUL-8: USA: United Church of Christ considers pro-life resolution: The first resolution by the General Synod of the United Church of Christ which supported abortion access was adopted in 1971. Three Pennsylvania congregations have submitted a resolution to their General Synod to be held on JUL 13 to 17. The resolution would have the denomination adopt "a pro-life position where abortion is outlawed except for rape and incest, abnormalities of the unborn, and extreme health risks to the mother." 2
bullet2001-JUL-16: Australia: Abortion clinic guard murdered: A man shot and killed a security guard at the Fertility Control Clinic in Melbourne, Australia. Two men in the clinic's waiting room fought with the man. Police later said that  their action "quite easily avoided a massacre." The perpetrator has been arrested and the gun was recovered. The country's main anti-abortion group, Right to Life, dissociated itself from the shooting. Their president, Margaret Tighe said: "Given the nature of what occurs in these places, it is a wonder there have not been any more of these incidents. Unborn children are being killed there. When you know that it is not surprising that somebody might want to take the law into their own hands."
bullet2001-JUL-15 (approx): France: Court rules on compensation for disabled children: France's highest court handed down a ruling in a case of a mentally retarded boy whose condition was not reported to his mother by the doctor who was giving pre-natal care to his mother. (Although not stated in the media reports, we assume that the doctor was aware of the fetal malformation or should have been.) The court ruled that disabled children are entitled to compensation if their mothers were not provided the chance to abort them. Three families with deformed children argued that if they had been informed in advance of the fetal abnormalities, that they would have chosen to have an abortion. 3
bullet2001-JUL-27: AK: Court ruling concerning medically necessary abortions: Medically necessary abortions are those recommended by a doctor because a disease or disorder in the woman would make the continued pregnancy dangerous to her health. Typical problems include diabetes, kidney disease and sickle cell anemia. The state funds medically necessary services for the poor, but a 1998 law bans the funding of necessary abortions for the poor unless the woman's life is at stake, or the abortion was caused by rape or incest. The Alaska Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the abortion ban is unconstitutional. The court ruled: "Once the state undertakes to fund medically necessary services for poor Alaskans, it may not selectively exclude from that program women who medically require abortions." State Senator Pete Kelly, (R-Fairbanks), the co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, plans withhold financing of necessary abortions from poor women by amending the state constitution. He said: "These people seem not to be able to read our constitution. I guess we'll have to amend it and make it more clear." Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union said: "The courts have an obligation and a duty to make sure the state does not spend money to violate the state constitution. The court has a duty to uphold the constitution, and the Legislature cannot use the power of the purse to violate constitutional rights of Alaskan citizens." Anna Franks, executive director of Planned Parenthood said since the state stopped funding those procedures, the organization has helped 180 women pay for abortions through a privately funded special loan fund. 4
bullet2001-JUL-30: USA: Reform party adopts anti-abortion access plank: The national Reform Party has decided to support the concept that "life" begins at conception and to promote the overturning of Roe vs. Wade. Chairperson Jeanne Doogs of Fort Worth, TX opposed the anti-abortion plank. she said: "I don't want to tell people how to live their lives. But there's a strong contingent here only interested in abortion and social issues." She said "new people" who came into the party with the Buchanan candidacy threatened to leave if the party didn't take a hard line against abortion. "I think it's divisive, but I'm not leaving the party," she said. The party also adopted resolutions opposing same-sex marriages, opposing the use of fetal tissue for research, opposing hate-crimes laws, restoring God to the public square, returning the nation to its Christian roots, terminating almost all immigration for a decade, and increased use of the military to secure America's borders.
bullet2001-AUG-1: USA: Senate committee wants funding ban reversed: For years, there has been a ban on government grants to foreign agencies which would fund abortions. In 2001-JAN, President George W. Bush extended the funding ban for family planning programs run by agencies that also provide abortion services out of their own funds. That ban extended even to groups that discuss abortion; it has been called the "Global Gag Rule." The Senate foreign Relations Committee voted to rescind the President's ban. The bill was introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D-CA). The president has promised to veto any such bill. Boxer said: "There is growing opposition to this president's radical views on family planning -- and they need to be highlighted."
bullet2001-AUG-7: AZ: Court ruling concerning medically necessary abortions: This appears to be an almost identical case as was decided in Alaska (See JUL-27 above). Medically necessary abortions are those recommended by a doctor because a disease or disorder in the woman would make the continued pregnancy dangerous to her health. Typical problems include diabetes, kidney disease and sickle cell anemia. This time, the opposite ruling was given. Under a 1980 state law, Arizona provides free needed medical care, with the exception of abortions, to indigents. A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals decided that the law is constitutional.
bullet2001-AUG-19: USA: National Abortion Federation sued because of ads: Three Chicago residents have sued the National Abortion Federation, charging that their RU-486 ads are deceptive. The ads state: "You have the freedom to choose. And now you have another safe abortion choice." Gene Koprowski of the Human Rights Institute is a plaintiff in the case. He points out that most women have at least one side-effect from the pill. This makes the pill unsafe in his eyes. The suit asks that the ads be discontinued, and that they be ruled in violation of state law.
bullet2001-AUG-25: PA: Protest at Allentown: Anti-abortion protestors  returned to picket the Allentown Women's Center for two hours. Center employees have phoned police complaining that their signs of aborted late-term fetuses were offensive and were created a traffic hazard. The Center does not do late-term abortions. Capt. Theodore Kohuth of the state police at Bethlehem said that the posters are protected speech under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. However, "They cannot intrusively get in the face, if you will, of other individuals, or take some other physical action which could be viewed as a threat or intimidation by some other individual. "That's perhaps where the line would be crossed."
bullet2001-AUG-27: NY: Syracuse family fined for abortion protests: A family in Syracuse NY -- Victoria and Joseph Kraeger with their daughters Sherri Kraeger and Vicki Jo Syverson were fined a total of US$ 80,000 by U.S. District Judge David Hurd in Utica. They were found to have violated the state's year 2000 abortion clinic access law. They are also permanently barred from trespassing at any abortion clinic in northern New York state. Judge Hurd said: "While the defendants seek to exercise their right to protest, they do not respect the rights of the people they come in contact with. As a result, the defendants must be penalized and their activities curbed." They had allegedly delivering a package that looked like a bomb to a local health clinic. They had also allegedly posted signs offering "rewards" for people who identified abortion clinic staff members.  They were said to regularly accost and block patients as they approached the clinic and chase and yell at patients and staff leaving the clinic. 5
bullet2001-AUG-28: World: U.S. concerned about UN General Assembly session on children: The U.S. administration is concerned that the agenda for a conference on children "does not support or advance the idea of abortion." UNICEF spokeswoman Liza Barrie said: "It is not about abortion; none of the documents refer directly, indirectly or any other way to abortion, and never have.'' The draft document includes a line that seems to refer to family planning. It says that nations should "promote and protect the right of the adolescent to sexual and reproductive health education, information and services in order to ... avoid unwanted or early pregnancies.''
bullet2001-SEP-1: Chile: Morning After pill banned: The Supreme Court of Chile has outlawed the "morning after" pill. The judges ruled that some of the effects of the pill were equal to those of abortion, which is already banned. The pills were sold under the name Postinal.
bullet2001-SEP-5: USA: Massive campaign re U.S. Supreme Court: 23 conservative Christian groups, including the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty CommissionEagle Forum and Prison Fellowship, have organized the Shake the Nation campaign. With an initial budget of $2 million, their goal is to pressure President Bush and the Senate to fill the next Supreme Court vacancy with an judge who opposes abortion access for women. Faced with internal disunity over the stem cell issue, the campaign feels that all conservative Christians can unite to criminalize abortion. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor are all over 70 years of age and might retire within the next few years. 6
bullet2001-SEP-5: USA: Bill concerning transport of minors across state lines for an abortion: Some states require minors to obtain parental permission or to give parental notification before being eligible to have an abortion. A very frequent response for young women who do not have a close and open relationship with their parents is to simply go to a neighboring state for an abortion. A panel of the House Judiciary Committee heard arguments on H.R. 476, the Child Custody Protection Act "prohibit taking minors across State lines in circumvention of laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions." Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH) said "parental notice and consent laws reflect the states' reasoned and constitutional conclusion that the best interests of a pregnant minor are served when her parents are consulted and involved in the process." He acknowledged that there are situations, such as fear of repercussions from incest or fear of physical abuse, if parents learn of the pregnancy. Teresa Stanton Collett, a professor from the South Texas College of Law said that these reasons "cannot be an adequate justification to keep parents in the dark." Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) suggested that a law may not be constitutional if it seeks to punish an adult for transporting a minor across a state line so that the minor can engage in an activity that is lawful in the other state. The bill has nearly 90 sponsors, including about 10 Democrats. A similar act passed the house in 1999 by 276 to 150 and in 2000 by 270 to 159.

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bullet2001-SEP-6: CA: New bill to protect abortion clinics passes Legislature: A bill which criminalizes threats to people using or working in an abortion clinic has been passed by the California Legislature. Its provisions are similar to the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic and Church Entrances Act, which contains both criminal and civil penalties.
bullet2001-SEP-14: Ireland: Medical Council shifts ethical guidelines on abortion: The Medical Council voted 14 to 8 in favor of a new policy on abortion. They are permissible if there is "a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother."
bullet2001-SEP-21: CA: Morning After Pills to be more accessible: Currently, emergency contraception medication requires a woman to get a prescription from a physician. Bill SB 1169 has passed through the California legislature. If signed into law, it  would allow pharmacists to sell the medication over-the-counter. Since the pills must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, speed is very important. Experience has shown that they are safe. Focus on the Family, a Fundamentalist Christian group, complains that this law would "put women and girls at higher risk for disease and sexual health problems." 7
bullet2001-OCT-2: OH: Pro-lifers display photos of late-term aborted fetuses on trucks: Pro-lifers of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform drove trucks bearing color photographs of aborted fetuses along main highways in Columbus, OH,  from 6:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Mark Harrington, executive director of the group's Midwest office, said: "We are out to bother people, because people aren't bothered enough by abortion to do something about it. Abortion is not exacting a big enough emotional toll on the American people...How can God bless a nation who kills its own children? Four thousand times a day, the tragedy of terrorism is wrought not by airplanes but by 'choice.' '' He said that the trucks will relocate later in the month to tour Cincinnati, OH, Lexington, KY, and Cleveland, OH. 8
bullet2001-OCT-3: Ireland: Bill to legalize abortion if needed to save woman's life: Currently, the status of abortion in Ireland is unclear: the constitution of Ireland bans all abortions, even if needed to save the life of a woman. But the country's Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that an abortion should be permitted if a woman might otherwise die. This might be interpreted to include women who were suicidal. Ireland is a largely Roman Catholic nation. The church teaches that a fetus is a full human being, and that it is not acceptable to murder a fetus, even if by doing nothing, both the fetus and the woman would die. After nearly a decade of political debate and delay, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has introduced the Human Life and Pregnancy Bill. If approved, the measure would allow doctors to terminate pregnancies when women's lives were at risk. A referendum would be held if the bill is passed. He appealed to both sides in the debate to "be informed by a spirit of reason, tolerance and open-mindedness." Currently, about 6,500 Irish women have legal abortions each year. But they first have to go to England. The number of illegal abortions in the country is unknown. 9
bullet2001-OCT-5: NJ: Abortion debate enters election for governor: Jeff Brand, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey commented: "The radical road of [Republican candidate for governor] Bret Schundler leads to outlawing abortion under nearly all circumstances -- including rape and even incest." Elizabeth Volz, president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for Women, said that candidate Schundler "would move quickly to reduce women's reproductive choices." Both groups support Democrat candidate Jim McGreevey. 10
bullet2001-SEP-29: UK: New prenatal test for fetal genetic abnormalities: The Lancet, a British medical journal, reported that scientists in England have developed a new test to detect genetic abnormalities in fetuses. It is called a "quantitative fluorescence polymerase chain reaction" test. It starts with the usual extraction of amniotic fluid but produces results in one or two days. This compares to the one or two weeks delay for the conventional test. Almost all women elect to have an abortion if a serious genetic abnormality, like Down's Syndrome, if found.
bullet2001-OCT-12: USA: Anti-emergency contraception amendment pulled: Representative Melissa Hart (R-PA) proposed an amendment to the massive $123 billion spending bill for federal education, health and labor programs. It would have terminated all federal aid to any school which dispensed emergency contraception to students. House Republican leaders asked her to withdraw the amendment in order to assure quick passage of the bill. They promised her a stand-alone vote on the proposal next year. This medication is believed to be available in 180 schools across the U.S. 11
bullet2001-OCT-12: USA: Anti-abortion amendment pulled: Rep. David Vitter, (R-LA) pulled his amendment to the same federal bill. It would have terminated all family planning money to groups that both give family planning information and perform abortions. It would have stopped the allocation of about $250 million. Pro-choice supporters said that this amendment would have  terminated comprehensive health care for many women, including cervical cancer evaluations, contraceptive information, etc. The end result would probably be an increase in the number of abortions because women would be denied contraceptive information. Mo Woltering, spokesperson for the pro-life American Life League said: "We're disappointed because it seems like...[Vitter] was pressured by the bipartisan movement in light of what we're dealing with in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. But we feel this is the time to try and save lives, and in our view defending America means keeping funds away from agencies who actually sponsor abortion." 11
bullet2001-OCT-12: Canada: Pro-life group discusses D&X Abortion in school: Eleven to 14-year-old students at Leary’s Brook junior high school heard a presentation by John and Gaetanne Hetherington, Evangelical Christians from Longueuil, Quebec, on D&X abortions. One mother said: "My son was so horrified and gripped by this story that I don’t think he can get it out of his mind...[the children] do not need to be exposed to what is in fact fear-mongering...This was clearly not appropriate, nor was it fair, nor was it objective, nor did it consider medical, moral, or legal realities in this country." The school officials did not review the material before it was presented. Jerry Vink, executive director of the Labrador Human Rights Association said: "It’s the kind of one-sided, biased views that have no place in the educational process." 12
bullet2001-OCT-17: USA: Abortion clinics receive "Anthrax" letters: Abortion clinics in the U.S. have received about 150 letters marked "urgent, time sensitive" with return addresses from law enforcement groups. Inside was a powder and a death-threat letter allegedly signed by the "Army of God." Heather Herndon, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania said: "I absolutely believe it's the anti-choice extremists who are taking advantage of our national crisis." Between 1998 and 2000, more than 80 similar letters were sent to U.S. clinics which threatened Anthrax contamination. All turned out to be hoaxes.
bullet2001-OCT-124: AL: Pro Life license plates approved: the Alabama Legislature's License Plate Oversight Committee approved a request from the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition Education Fund. Car owners will now be able to buy Tag 6-3 license plates, which include the slogan: "Choose Life."
bullet2001-OCT-24: IL: Number of abortions in Illinois increase - sort of: Residents of Illinois got 41,483 abortions in 2000. This is an decrease of 26 over 1999. However, the population of Illinois decreased about 1% over the year; this means that the rate of abortion among Illinois residents has dropped slightly. However, out-of-state residents got 5,488 abortion in 2000. This is an increase of 27.8% over 1999. "Between 1995 and 2000, the annual number of out-of-state residents having abortions in Illinois increased by 53" %. Pam Sutherland, spokesperson for the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council was not surprised. She commented that all of the states surrounding Illinois have "incredibly bad restrictions" on abortion. Some require waiting periods. Some have few abortion providers. Stanley Henshaw, senior fellow at the New-York based Alan Guttmacher Institute said: "Making restrictions has not stopped women from having abortions. They're just going to other states." 13
bullet2001-NOV-7: Student suspended for pro-life T-shirt: Bryan Kemper, director of "Rock For Life" reported: "A high school student was suspended for wearing one of Rock For Life's 'abortion is homicide' shirts to school. And once again, the school was forced to recognize the student's First Amendment free speech rights." The school board in Malone, NY, told the student to wear a different T-shirt or go home. They said that its message was offensive, and a form of religious proselytizing. An attorney from the Thomas More Law Center explained what the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says. The school board apologized in writing to the student and her father and said that she could wear the T-shirt to class. Rock for Life is a youth division of American Life League; it has over 100,000 youth members. 14,15
bullet2001-NOV-12: Mexico: Abortion provider conference: About 250 health officials from 20 Latin American countries attended a regional conference in Cuernavaca on abortion. Axel Mundigo, from the World Health Organization, reported that approximately 4 million abortions are performed in Latin America yearly. About 90 percent are done in secret by unlicensed doctors. This results in the deaths of 6,000 women per year. Mundigo said: "Abortion needs to be discussed in a public forum so that women, who represent more than half the population, become the ones who decide the fate of legislation dealing with abortion." Demonstrators demanded that the Mexican government cancel the visas of the delegates and have them removed from the country. Angeles Amaro, president of Love Life Network said: "These leaders have arrived as messengers of death under the pretense of public health. They are meeting in this city to attack the natural right to life." Ana Langer, president of the abortion-rights Popular Council of Latin America and the Caribbean, said: "What I want to say to those groups that are very worried about this meeting is that they have no reason to worry. We are discussing scientific facts, not adopting any political, religious or ideological position." 16
bullet2001-NOV-28: TX: State Supreme Court hears arguments on abortion case: The Court heard arguments on whether the state is constitutionally obligated to pay for medically necessary abortions. The law now states that Medicaid money can only be used to pay for an abortion in the case of rape, incest, or when the woman's life is in danger. It doesn't pay for an abortion in the case where a pregnant woman runs a serious health risk from heart disease, hypertension, cancer, epilepsy etc. The plaintiffs estimate that the court's decision will affect 4,100 to 8,810 abortions yearly. 17
bullet2001-DEC-31: Ireland: Support for abortion:  The Irish government has created the Crisis Pregnancy Agency which will develop a national strategy to address crisis pregnancy and oversee its implementation. The goal of the agency is to "reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancies among Irish women and ensure that women who find themselves in this situation will have available to them the widest possible range of assistance to help them deal with their situation." 18 The Human Life and Pregnancy Bill is an amendment to the Irish constitution that is to be presented to the public for a referendum. If passed, it would permit the Irish Parliament to pass legislation that would allow doctors to perform an abortion if the woman's life is in danger. Cases of threatened suicide would not qualify. The bill would also legalize emergency contraception. It would define certain interventions that kill the embryo or fetus (e.g. in the case of pre-eclampsia, cancer of the cervix, or ectopic pregnancy) as not being abortions. The act will not inhibit a woman from traveling outside the country to obtain an abortion. About 6,500 Irish women travel each year to Britain for an abortion. The referendum will probably be held in 2002-spring.

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References:

  1. "Bush health plan is sneak attack on abortion rights," AANEWS, 2001-JUL-7
  2. " 'SIECUS' resolutions want to change General Synod policy on abortion, homosexual ordination," at: http://synodassembly.net/ucc/sexual.htm
  3. TVC News, (Traditional Value Coalition) 2001-JUL-20
  4. Molly Brown, "Unanimous justices find abortion rule unconstitutional," Anchorage Daily News, 2001-JUL-28, at: http://www.adn.com/front/story/642254p-685885c.html
  5. William Kates, "Judge said family prevented clinic access, imposes $80,000 in fines," Associated Press, at: http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/
  6. Keven Sack & Gustav Niebuhr, "Conservatives to pressure Bush on Supreme Court," New York Times, at: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/
  7. "California Lawmakers Assault Families," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/state/
  8. Kathy Gray, "Trucks carry anti-abortion billboards," at: http://www.dispatch.com/
  9. Shawn Pogatchnik, "In Ireland, abortion is back on agenda," at: http://inq.philly.com/content/inquirer/
  10. "Abortion-rights groups endorse McGreevey," Asbury Park Press, at: http://www.app.com/news/app/story/

  11. "Vitter gives up plans to offer controversial anti-abortion bill; Measure falls short in House panel vote," The Times Picayune, 2001-OCT-12, at: http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/washington/
  12. Craig Jackson, "Children 'horrified' by pro-life talk," The Telegram, St. John's Newfoundland, 2001-OCT-12, at: http://www.thetelegram.com/
  13. Adriana Colindres, "Number of abortions performed in Illinois rises by 3 percent," State Journal Register, at: http://www.sj-r.com/news/Tuesday/l.htm
  14. "Rock For Life: We Really Mean It! Our Message Will Not Be
    Silenced!,
    " U.S. Newswire, at: http://www.usnewswire.com/
  15. Rock for Life's web site is at: http://www.rockforlife.org
  16. Oswald Alonso, "Abortion Conference Begins in Mexico," Associated Press, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com
  17. "Texas Court to Rule on Funding 'Necessary' Abortions," Associated Press, 2001-NOV-28, at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,39653,00.html
  18. "Parliament of Ireland, Messages from select committees," 2001-OCT-25, at: http://www.irlgov.ie/debates-01/25oct/sect2.htm

Copyright © 2001 and 2004 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2004-MAR-9
Author: B.A. Robinson

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