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ABORTION NEWS

From 2002-OCTOBER to DECEMBER

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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-OCT-2: Nepal: King approves abortion access law: King Gyanendra approved a new law which legalizes most abortions in the country. Formerly, women who had an abortion faced a prison term. The law also allows women to inherit property from their parents.
bullet2002-OCT-19: CA: Planned Parenthood to commemorate anniversary of Roe v. Wade: PPLA in Los Angeles is planning to hold a gala dinner on 2003-JAN-22, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which made abortions safe, legal and available throughout the U.S. Nancy L. Sasaki, PPLA's president and CEO said: "During our gala event, we will focus on what 30 years of safe, legal abortion has meant to women's health and well-being and why we can't take this right for granted. The program will also focus on the growing threats that have put a woman's right to choose much more at risk than it was in 1973. We must raise awareness of the threats to Roe that we are facing, and of the enormous support that exists for a woman's right to choose." 1
bullet2002-NOV-5: USA: How the mid-term elections might effect abortion access: The U.S. Supreme Court is currently seriously divided between conservatives and liberals. Most justices often vote as two blocks. Thus, many recent decisions by the Court have been the result of a split 5 to 4 vote. There is a possibility that President Bush could nominate as many as four new justices to the court if he is elected to a second term. These are likely to be selected, at least in part, because of their philosophical opposition to abortion. With the Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, these nominations are almost certain to be eventually approved. This greatly increases the likelihood of a federal  Partial Birth Abortion Act being declared constitutional. In fact, Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed women access to early abortions, may well be overturned in the next few years. Commenting on the fate of a Partial Birth Abortion bill, Wendy Wright, senior policy director at Concerned Women for America, said "By the time this bill is passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Bush and then works its way up through the court system, it's very likely we'll have one or more new justices on the Supreme Court." 2
bullet2002-NOV-7: USA: Comments on the U.S. mid-term elections: According to an American Atheists' news release: "Deal Hudson of the group 'Catholics in the GOP' cited exit polls from the FoxNews network as proof saying that 'conservative Christians' were the decisive factor in a number of races.  He added that after the economy, abortion was the burning issue for voters in Missouri. 'To win on the pro-life issue,' said Hudson, 'you have to take it state by state.'  He predicted that an alliance of evangelicals and militant Roman Catholics would eventually be able to win the abortion issue. 'We have to be prudent and work with Democratic allies to bring this along,' added Hudson." 3 By "win the abortion issue," Hudson apparently meant to drastically restrict abortion access in the U.S.
bullet2002-NOV-15: USA: Comments on the role of abortion in the elections: According to the Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, the latest Zogby Poll shows that beliefs about abortion access played a major role in the elections. She said: "The numbers show that 25 percent of the people who voted said that abortion affected their vote and they voted for pro-life candidates. That is tremendous." Meanwhile, another 13% apparently also considered abortion a major factor, but voted for pro-choice candidates. The difference in percentages decided many close elections. 4
bullet2002-NOV-15: USA: Ban on abortion for military on overseas bases: The year 2003 military spending bill had contained an amendment which would have allowed U.S. military personnel to obtain privately funded abortions at overseas bases. It was passed 52 to 40 by the Senate. But the amendment has been removed because Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich, felt that President Bush would veto the entire bill if the provision remained. The revised bill was passed by the House on NOV-12 and by the senate on NOV-13. 5
bullet2002-NOV-20: USA: Anti-abortion terrorist confesses: James Kopp allegedly said in an interview with a Buffalo News reporter that he hid in the woods behind Dr. Sleppian's home on 1998-OCT-23, and fired the shot that killed the physician. But he said that he did not intend to kill him. Kopp said "The truth is not that I regret shooting Dr. Slepian. I regret that he died. I aimed at his shoulder. The bullet took a crazy ricochet and that's what killed him." Kopp is a suspect in four other shootings in Canada and western New York state. See NOV-24 entry below.
bullet2002-NOV-19: LA: Runoff election in Louisiana: The electoral system in Louisiana requires a runoff election on 2002-DEC-7, to decide who will be the next senator. This is because because the incumbent, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), did not receive 50% of the votes. The abortion question may well be an important factor in the election. Senator Landrieu supports legislation that would ban D&X abortions, and co-sponsored the Brownback Bill to ban human cloning. But she is pro-choice on abortion. Her Republican opposition would support a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions, without exception. Presumably this would ban abortions that are needed to save the life of the woman. On Tim Russert's show, she said: "I'm a mother of three. I'm a practicing Catholic. I believe in the sanctity of life." 7
bullet2002-NOV-24: USA: Reaction to James Kopp's confession: The Buffalo News reported four reactions to Kopp's testimony:
bulletRev. Robert L. Behn, spokesperson for a local pro-life group: "We're condemning the violent act. We're glad he confessed. He needs to own up to it. He needs to repent and seek God's forgiveness."
bulletLynn Kipp, James' stepmother: "He said he didn't mean to kill but that he meant to protect unborn children. Isn't that a contradiction."
bulletHelen Dalley, spokesperson for a local pro-choice group: "I do believe that the pro-life movement has turned into a deadly movement for the extremists."
bulletMarilynn Buckham, spokesperson for a local women's clinic: "He's insulting the people in this community by thinking that he could get acquitted."

Another response is from author of A Time to Kill, a treatise on the use of force in defense of fetal life:
bulletMichael Bray: "The termination of the murderer [Dr. Sleppian] was a deed quite consistent with Mr. Kopp’s life of service for the innocent, brutalized womb children of America.  It was a good deed that brought peace for many innocents through the death of a wicked serial killer....who can deny that Mr. Kopp loved the innocent as he protected them with the efficacious force of a bullet?  Atomic Dog [James Kopp] did the right thing.  He did what he thought he had to do. And he did it well."

And finally a response from the Attorney General:

bulletJohn Ashcroft: "Kopp committed a heinous crime that deserves severe punishment. We need to send a strong message that no matter what our differences are, violence is not the solution." 8
bullet 2002-DEC-4: USA: Supreme Court tackles use of RICO in abortion cases: The U.S. Supreme Court had decided to review a case involving the use of the RICO anti-racketeering laws against pro-life groups. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was originally designed to protect legitimate businesses from being targeted by organized crime. However, it has been used to charge groups which engage in violence and intimidation against abortion clinics. The court heard arguments from both sides in the case on DEC-4.

Roy Englert Jr., a lawyer representing Operation Rescue and some anti-abortion leaders said that if the Court does not intervene, then leaders of any movement could be severely punished if their "followers get out of hand." An attorney representing the National Organization for Women and a group of abortion clinics said the laws protect businesses from violent protests that drive away clients. According to the Associated Press, "The issue dates back to the 1980s when large groups of anti-abortion demonstrators used aggressive tactics to disrupt clinics. In 1998 a jury in Illinois found demonstrators guilty of dozens of violations, including four acts involving physical violence or threats of violence. In its ruling the high court must differentiate between protected political activity and that which is illegal."

One of the conservative Justices, Antonin Scalia, who has traditionally opposed abortion access, appears to oppose the use of RICO. He said: "It wasn't smacking people around. It was just not letting people in" to the clinics." Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a supporter of abortion access seems to disagree. She said: "We're not talking about conduct that's lawful here. To paint the picture we're talking about just pure speech is not the case." 9

This essay continues below.

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bullet2002-DEC: GA: Legislators to introduce an anti-abortion bill: Bill 1 will be introduced in the Georgia House during 2003-JAN. If it becomes law, it would limit access to abortion within the state by requiring a pregnant woman to initiate a court petition in order to obtain a death warrant, before she could obtain an abortion. More details. 10
bullet2002-DEC-19: Asia/Pacific: U.S. provides lone voice in opposition to women's health services: A United Nations conference dealing with poverty and population control was held in Bangkok, Thailand. A key technique for combating both problems is reproductive health services for women. This includes STD education, contraceptive information, prescribing the "morning after pill," and in rare instances, abortion. Abortion is not really much of an option to women in this region, since it is either illegal or restricted in nine countries in the Pacific region. However, the U.S. delegation opposed any reference to "reproductive health services" in the ten year plan, because such services could conceivably include abortion in a few locations in the area under some circumstances. Negotiations had become deadlocked, so the conference participants decided to take the unusual step of voting on the plan. The U.S. delegation found themselves isolated; two votes were held; the results were 31 to 1 and 32 to 1. The plan was eventually approved over the objections of the U.S. delegation. Austin Ruse, with the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, praised the Bush administration for its stance. "They went out and played it like it was the World Series, and that really sends a signal to the other side that we will fight them every single time these bad ideas come up — no matter what, no matter where." By including contraceptive health services in the plan, and by not excluding the possibility of abortions in some cases and countries, the end result may be a significant reduction in the number of conceptons of unwanted children. This should result in an overall reduction of the number of illegal and legal abortions in the region. 11
bullet2002-DEC-20: CA: Governor forbidden to visit Catholic children's home: Gov. Gray Davis had planned to visit a St. Patrick's Home for Children, a Catholic children's home in Sacramento CA, to deliver Christmas gifts to the children. An hour before Governor Davis was supposed to play Santa Claus, Monsignor Edward Kavanagh, administrator of the home told Davis' staff that the governor would not be welcome unless he first renounced his support for abortion rights. When the smoke cleared, the Governor ended up giving gifts to the children at the Capitol. Monsignor Kavanagh complained they were taken by the home's staff without his consent. 12

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References:

  1. "Planned Parenthood Los Angeles to Commemorate 30th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Ruling: Star-Studded Gala to Be Held January 22, 2003 in Los Angeles," PRNewswire, 2002-NOV-17, at: http://news.findlaw.com/prnewswire/
  2. Bob Kellogg, "Will Abortion Ban Pass Court Muster?," Focus on the Family, 2002-NOV-11, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif
  3. AANEWS, 2002-NOV-7, American Atheists news release.
  4. David Brody, "Abortion Factor Loomed Large in Election 2002," Focus on the Family, 2002-NOV-15, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif
  5. "Military Abortion ban remains," CitizenLink News, Focus on the Family, 2002-NOV-15.
  6. "N.Y. Anti-Abortion Militant Admits Shooting Doctor," Reuters, 2002-NOV-20, at: http://abcnews.go.com/wire/US/
  7. "Pro-Life Politics Down on the Bayou," Family Research Council, Washington Update, 2002-NOV-19
  8. Rev. Michael Bray, "James Kopp, Man of Peace," at: http://www.christiangallery.com/
  9. "New Rules for Abortion Foes?," Associated Press, 2002-DEC-5, at: http://www.newsday.com/news/local/
  10. "Georgia General Assembly: LC 21 7087," at: http://www2.state.ga.us/legis/
  11. David Brody and Pete Winn, "Administration Holds Firm at U.N. Conference," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/
  12. Aurelio Rojas, "Davis, priest spar over kids' gifts," Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com/content/

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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-OCT-19
Latest update: 2004-MAR-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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