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ABORTION NEWS

From 2002-JULY to SEPT.

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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:

bullet2002-JUL-2: USA: Alleged appointee to CDC head selected: The Family Research Council, a fundamentalist Christian group, expressed regret at the apparent new appointee to head the Centers for Disease Control. They speculate that Dr. Julie Gerberding will be shortly appointed by President Bush. They note that she has, in the past, supported safe-sex education so that students who decide to become sexually active will know how to minimize their chances of STD transmission. She has also supported supplying emergency contraceptives in schools to female students who have had unprotected sex and may otherwise become pregnant. 1 Dr. Dobson of Focus on the Family also weighed in against Dr. Gerberding. More details.
bullet2002-JUL-9: USA: President Bush breaks promise: According to the American Life League, (ALL) when George W. Bush was running for president, the U.S. conference of Catholic Bishops asked him whether he would oppose research on aborted fetuses. He replied: "I oppose using federal funds to perform fetal tissue research from induced abortions." Again, according to the ALL, he "quietly approved a decision made by members of his administration to endow federal money to a project at Johns Hopkins University involving research on aborted human embryos up to eight weeks old..." 2
bullet2002-JUL-23: World: President Bush redirects grant: The U.S. Congress had allocated up to $34 million in aid to support international family planning programs administered by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). President Bush withheld these funds because a small part of the UNFPA's total efforts deals with China. Sometimes, China forces women to have abortions or to undergo sterilization against their will in order to enforce the country's one-child policy. President Bush has redirected the funding to the USAID Child Survival and Health Program Fund. As the name implies, the mandate of this agency is to improve children's health. One small part of their program involves money "forecasting, purchasing, and supplying contraceptive commodities and other materials necessary for reproductive health programs."  One small part of those supplies involve emergency contraception. Physicians regard this medication as a form of contraception, since once a pregnancy has begin, the pills have no effect. However, some pro-life groups like the American Life League considers them to be "abortion-inducing chemicals that kill the very children that the fund claims to help." The League accused President Bush of stabbing "them in the back." 3 According to The Guardian, a UK newspaper, the European Union has decided to replace the UNFPA funding with 32 million euros -- the equivalent of about $34 million U.S. dollars.
bullet2002-AUG-3: PA: Boyfriend obtains injunction preventing woman from having an abortion: John Stachokus, 27, of Plains, PA, obtained an injunction on JUL-29 that prevented his girlfriend, Tanya Meyers, 22, of Kingston, PA, from having an abortion. She was nine weeks pregnant. She wanted to have an abortion because of verbal and emotional abuse, threats and harms that she allegedly claimed her ex-boyfriend put her through. Oral arguments were heard on JUL-31. Her boyfriend allegedly said that she wants the abortion "out of spite and hatred." Lawyers on both sides have been given to at least AUG-5 to file written arguments. Meyers' lawyers filed an emergency appeal on AUG-1 seeking to overturn the original injunction, which had been put in place by Judge Thomas F. Burke, Jr. of the Court of Common Pleas in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Some reactions:
bulletLinda Rosenthal of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy wrote  "The lower court's injunction shows complete disregard for legal precedent. No person....has the right to veto an adult woman's decision to terminate her first-trimester pregnancy." 4 Later, she said: "An adult woman has a fundamental constitutional right to privacy. There is no excuse for what happened in Pennsylvania this past week." 5
bulletDianna Thompson, of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, said that, to her knowledge, this case is unique. "It could be historic and have real implications for men and women everywhere"
bulletElizabeth Cavendish, of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League said: "It's important because people need to be reminded that this kind of harassment of women still goes on. The fact that this case even happened, let alone what the outcome will be, has ramifications. That judge was wrong. It's a matter of law. The Supreme Court of our nation has ruled it is unconstitutional to allow a husband to stop his pregnant wife from having a wanted abortion. So it goes without saying that boyfriends and ex-boyfriends don't get veto power either." She added: "Judges are not supposed to grant injunctions unless the applicant can reasonably show they're likely to succeed in the lawsuit," she said. "There is no way this man can win this case." 4
bulletSylvia Law, who teaches constitutional and family law at New York University, said: "A lot of issues in this area are, honestly, difficult. This is not one of them. This is crystal clear. The law on the question of fathers' or husbands' capability to veto a woman's ability to have an abortion has always been that it's completely unconstitutional."
bulletAl Rende, founder of Fathers for Life, said that men should have a say in the outcome of a pregnancy they helped to create. He said: "Dads need to have support. The community needs to get behind what's happening here. Our community can help influence national policy and law. Our judges can only do what the laws allow them to do."

The judge, Michael Conohan, later cancelled the injunction. He said that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade (and other rulings) require that neither an ex-boyfriend nor a fetus has standing to interfere with a woman's choice to terminate her pregnancy. He cited numerous court rulings that have rejected similar attempts to prevent women from exercising their right to obtain an abortion. Conohan said: "The balance of the equities weights heavily in favor of Meyers. The delay in her procedure has inflicted significant and extreme emotional distress on Meyers, and she faces increased medical risks due to the delay in the procedure. Furthermore, the denial of her constitutional right to effectuate her abortion decision is in itself immediate and irreparable harm." 5 John Stachokus plans to file an appeal with the state Superior Court on AUG-12.

This is a situation in which either the woman wins and is allowed to have the abortion that she wants, or the man wins and she is required to continue with the pregnancy and give birth to a newborn that she does not want. A win-win situation is not possible.

bullet2002-AUG-5: USA: President Bush signs "Born-alive Infants Protection Act: This law requires that a fetus that is delivered alive as a result of an abortion must be given medical attention; physicians must attempt to preserve its life. The law will have no real effect on the eventual outcome of more than 99% of all abortions -- those performed in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. That is because the fetus at that state of development has no chance of living outside of the woman's womb. In essence, the law says that even though a woman may have a right, under unusual circumstances, to a late-term abortion, she has no right to be guaranteed a dead baby. The senate passed this law on JUL-18. The president signed it into law on AUG-5. 6
bullet2002-AUG-14: OH: Rolling billboards show graphic pictures of aborted fetuses: A group of trucks sponsored by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform toured through Akron and Canton OH this week. Extremely graphic photographs of aborted fetuses were displayed on their sides and back. The Center's Midwestern region executive director, Mark Harrington, said: "Our experience is that most people, when they see the trucks, react the way that we want, which is shock or dismayed They're very disturbed by it, and they should be disturbed.'' The Center have stated that the fetuses are from first trimester abortions. However, in previous displays of this type, only the extremely rare late abortions have been shown. Roberta Aber, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Summit, Portage and Medina counties, said that these "extreme'' displays alienate people rather than winning them over...."Reasoned debate about abortion is always in order. But when you're dealing with people who will resort to these kinds of unreasonable tactics, then it's too bad any of us have to waste our time dealing with it.'' Dr. Lolita M. McDavid, medical director of child advocacy and protection at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland noted that young children could be frightened and disturbed by these graphic images. She said: "I don't think that children should be subjected to anything that's scary that they cannot process. Whenever you do something that's very frightening to someone who doesn't have the ability to process it, it's an abusive act.'' 7
bullet2002-AUG-15: CA: Bill to protect abortion access. The Reproductive Privacy Act,  passed the Senate earlier in August and is being considered by the Assembly. It forbids the state to "deny or interfere with a woman's fundamental right to bear a child or to choose or obtain an abortion." The bill is sponsored by Senator Sheila Kuehl (LA-D). She is concerned that the Supreme Court might make some major change to Roe v. Wade. She said, "We have an anti-choice president, an anti-choice Congress, and a Supreme Court that's one vote away from overturning Roe v. Wade....Now is the time to protect our right to choose." 8

This essay continues below.

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bullet2002-AUG-16: FL: Tightening adoption laws probably increase abortions: A new law in Florida requires women who cannot identify the father of the child that they are placing in adoption must take out a notice in the local paper where the child was conceived, advertising her full name, physical details, and the dates and locations of sexual activities that could have led to the pregnancy. The law was intended to allow the men to realize that they have fathered a child so that they could assert their parental rights if they wished to. Apparently, none of the legislators considered the impact of the bill on the woman. As the Family Research Council says: "...the law goes overboard. Requiring moms to print their sexual history in the paper will deter women from the adoption option and will likely drive them to consider abortion." 9
bullet2002-AUG-19: WA: Navy loses abortion funding case: "Jane Doe" is the wife of a sailor and is more than 21 weeks pregnant. The fetus that she is carrying has anencephaly and lacks a forebrain (the front part of the brain), cerebellum (the thinking part of the brain), and cranium. It only has a brain stem. This is sometimes called the reptilian brain, because it has not significantly changed since human ancestors were reptiles. The fetus is, in essence, a reptile brain in a human fetal body. Most infants with anencephaly die before birth. If born alive, it will be blind, deaf, unconscious and unable to feel pain or sense anything in the environment. It would never gain consciousness, and would die within a few hours after birth. The longest life expectancy is about a week. Fortunately, it will not feel pain as it is dying.

Tricare
, the Navy's health plan, only pays for abortions if they are necessary to save the life of a woman. Anencephaly, the disorder that is affecting the fetus, is specifically referred to in a law that prohibits the federal government from funding an abortion. The operation will cost about $2,500 to $3,000 which is beyond the financial ability of the couple. In early August, a federal judge in Seattle ruled that Tricare must fund the abortion. The government appealed. A two judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied the appeal. The abortion was scheduled to be performed during the week of AUG-18.
bullet2002-AUG-23: CA: Abortion education bill passes legislature: Bill AB 2194 passed the California Assembly in MAY and passed the Senate during the week of AUG-17. It is now awaiting Governor Davis' expected signature. If signed, it will require all accredited medical schools in the state to train OB/GYN residences in abortion procedures. Judie Brown, president of the pro-life American Life League, opposes the bill. She said: "The Governor of California is alleged to represent all the people of his state, but if he signs this bill, he will be executing a death sentence on the most vulnerable Californians." She is referring to embryos and fetuses. Others claim that since abortions are legal and sometimes necessary to save the life of a woman, that a OB/GYN specialist is not fully trained unless s/he is capable of performing an abortion procedure. 10
bullet2002-SEP-23: SC: Court rules that abortion clinic must provide religious counseling: The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a South Carolina law is constitutional. It requires abortion clinics to provide women access to counseling by clergy upon request. 

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References:

  1. Ken Connor, "CDC pick strikes sour note," Washington Update, from the Family Research Council, 2002-JUL-2.
  2. "Bush Advances Legacy Of Bad Decisions, Broken Promises And Dead Babies," American Life League National Desk, 2002-JUL-8, at: http://www.usnewswire.com/topnews/first/0709-102.html
  3. "Redirection of $34 million from UNFPA to USAID a 'stab in the back,' " American Life League, 2002-JUL-23, at: http://www.all.org/news/020723.htm
  4. Jennifer Henn, "Nation watching Wilkes-Barre abortion case," ScrantonTimes.com at:  http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?
  5. Denise Allabaugh, "Man can't stop abortion," Scranton Times Tribune, 2002-AUG-6, at: http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?
  6. Ken Connor, "Live and Let Live: President Signs Born Alive Act," Family Research Council Washington Update for 2002-AUG-5.
  7. Cheryl Powell, "Abortion photo tour hits Akron," The Beacon Journal, 2002-AUG-14, at: http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/3860605.htm
  8. Sean Scully, "Bill to bar abortion rollback," The Washington Times, 2002-AUG-15, at: http://www.washtimes.com/national/
  9. "Florida follows scarlet letter of the law," Family Research Council, Washington Update, 2002-AUG-16.
  10. "California Governor Davis' Signature Would Train Medical Students to Kill," American Life League, U.S. Newswire, 2002-AUG-23.

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Site navigation: Home page > Hot topics > Abortion > Abortion news > here

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Copyright 2002 & 2004 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Created: 2002-JUL-2
Latest update: 2004-JAN-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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