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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:

bullet 2003-APR-7: Texas: Fetal pain legislation: State Representative Leo Berman, (R-Tyler) introduced a bill "HB 569, The Fetal Pain Protection Act, which would require that women choosing to have an pregnancy termination first be told that fetuses can feel pain. They would also be given the option to have anesthetic administered to the fetus before the procedure. This would apply to fetus which are 20 weeks or older. Berman presented his bill to the House State Affairs Committee on 2003-APR-7. He noted that anesthesia is given prior to many dental procedures, and to and to inmates before being executed. He feels that fetuses should receive the same option. 1
bullet 2003-APR-7: Texas: Parental consent law: State Representative Phil King, (R-Weatherford) would require a woman under the age of 18 to bring a parent or legal guardian to the abortion clinic to approve of the procedure in person. Currently, Texas only requires proof of parental notification. 2
bullet 2003-APR-14: Minnesota: Abortion information and delay law: Governor Tim Pawlenty signed an abortion bill into law. Called the "Woman's Right to Know" bill, it requires that a woman who seeks an abortion wait wait for 24 hours and that her doctor tell her the medical risks of both alternatives: having an abortion or carrying the baby to term. She must be told the "probable gestational age" of her fetus, and that financial assistance might be available from the state and the father. The bill also requires the state to create printed materials and a web site that will link to adoption agencies and would show the the fetus' "probable anatomical and physiological characteristics" — including the disputed claim that a fetus feels pain during an abortion procedure.

Jane Miscavage, communications director for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and South Dakota said that the information will mislead women even though the state-provided material is supposed to be: "objective, nonjudgmental, and designed to convey only accurate scientific information." Noting that the 24 hour waiting period is meaningless because the average delay in obtaining an abortion is three to five days, she said: "What changes is she will now be given false information or junk science." Scott Fischbach, executive director of "Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life" said: "I think this bill will do a lot to inform women." 3
bullet 2003-APR-21: California: Killing of a fetus considered murder: Laci Peterson disappeared on 2002-DEC-24. She was eight months pregnant. The bodies of the woman and fetus were both identified on APR-18 after having washed up on the shore of San Francisco Bay. Prosecutors have decided to charge Laci's husband Scott Peterson with killing both his wife and unborn son. More than two dozen states, including California, have "fetal homicide" laws, that allow prosecutors to seek a double murder charge when a pregnant woman is killed.  Marie Tasy, spokesperson for New Jersey Right To Life, considers the charge appropriate. She said that "Obviously he [the unborn son] was wanted by the mother...Clearly groups like NOW are doing a great injustice to women by opposing these laws. It just shows you how extreme, and to what lengths, these groups will go to protect the right to abortion." Mavra Stark president of the Morris County NJ National Organization of Women (NOW) said: "If this is murder, well, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder...There's something about this that bothers me a little bit. Was it born, or was it unborn? If it was unborn, then I can't see charging (Peterson) with a double-murder....He was wanted and expected, and (Laci Peterson) had a name for him, but if he wasn't born, he wasn't born. It sets a kind of precedent." If found guilty of two murders, then Scott Peterson could be executed, under California's "special circumstance" clause. 4
bullet 2003-MAY-9: New York: James Kopp gets maximum sentence for murdering abortion provider: A judge gave anti-abortion terrorist James Kopp, 48, a sentence of 25 years to life for the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian in Buffalo, NY. Showing no remorse, he said: "Why should the safety of Dr. Slepian be put over the safety of unborn children? I was innocent of murder then. I am innocent of murder now. I have separated murderers from their weapons of mass destruction. I wish I could do 10 life sentences or 10 death penalties to save them [the unborn]." Kopp maintained that he did not intend to murder the doctor; he only intended to wound him and thus prevent him from performing any additional abortions. Commentator Joe Pavone wrote: "May God bless Jim Kopp for his brave testimony and life of action against the slaughter of babies....And may God raise up more defenders of the unborn like Jim Kopp." 5 Kopp is also suspected in the wounding of three Canadian abortion providers. However, he is unlikely to be tried for those crimes.
bullet 2003-MAY-21: IL: House approved the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA): Congress passed the ERA 31 years ago. It was an amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would have guaranteed that women in the U.S. had the same rights and obligations as men. It required ratification by 38 states within seven years. The deadline passed and only 35 had ratified it. Congress later extended the deadline to 1982, but no additional states joined the 35. The Illinois House has belatedly approved the ERA. If it also passes the state Senate, then Illinois would be the 36th state to pass the amendment. Efforts have also been mounted to pass the ERA in Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Virginia. Congress has the power to extend the deadline further. Some opponents to the ERA have expressed concern that if the amendment were to pass, it might lead to state funding of abortions, and the legalization of same-sex marriages.  6,7
bullet 2003-MAY-21: USA: Use of Emergency Contraception tripled in three years: The New York Times apparently reported in 2003 a recent Kaiser Family Foundation Survey which found that 6% of American women have used the morning-after pill. This is an increase from 2% in the year 2000. 8
bullet 2003-MAY-2: USA: Amendment to provide abortions in overseas military hospitals fails: U.S. Military hospitals provide health care to members of the U.S. Armed Forces. However, overseas facilities are prohibited by law from performing abortions. Pregnant service women have to find a non-military hospital or clinic in order to have access to abortion services. Pro-choice lawmakers have tried to have an amendment passed for the past seven years, without success. In the last five years, they have been able to pass the amendment in the Senate but not in the House. This year, the failed in both bodies. Patty Murray, (D-WA) promoted the bill in the Senate. She said: "The current policy that is on the books today is an insult to women. It's a rejection of their rights and a threat to their health." Sen. Jeff Sessions, (R-AL) said that the bill is ill timed. "It's a personal and an emotional issue that I don't think needs to be pressed at this point. Our military physicians and nurses aren't happy with it." Martha Kleder, spokesperson from the conservative group Concerned Women for America said: "Putting abortion under an American flag, into host countries that may be vehemently pro-life, would be a slap in the face and make it very difficult for commanders to operate freely." 9
bullet 2003-MAY-29: USA: Presbyterian Church reaffirms its stance on abortion: The Presbyterian Church (USA) has been experiencing major internal conflicts between its conservative and liberal wings. This has surfaced most notably on topics such as:
bullet Whether gays and lesbians in loving, committed relationships should be allowed to seek ordination,
bullet What the criteria are for salvation.
bullet Whether women should have access to an abortion.

At their 215th General Assembly, they discussed late term abortions. Previous resolutions of the church had stressed the woman's health and her right to choose to terminate her pregnancy. They framed abortion debate around fetal viability -- the time in pregnancy when the fetus is able to live outside the woman's womb with life-support systems. There is general agreement that the chances of a baby surviving rises from 10 to 40% during the 23rd week of pregnancy. This year's Assembly passed a resolution approving of late-term abortion "when necessary to save the life of the woman, to preserve the woman's health in circumstances of a serious risk to the woman's health, to avoid fetal suffering as a result of untreatable life-threatening medical anomalies, or in cases of incest or rape." A significant addition to previous Assembly's resolutions is: "When it is deemed necessary to end a pregnancy to protect the mother's life or health in the later months of pregnancy, when the baby may be able to live outside the womb, a procedure should be considered which gives both the mother and the child the opportunity to live." The vote was 450 to 108 in favor of the resolution.

Conservative Presbyterians proposed a more restrictive policy that favored counseling women with problem pregnancies to deliver their babies rather than have abortions. That proposal, submitted in place of the main proposal, was defeated 315 to 205. A second proposal to remove rape and incest from the list of circumstances in which late-term abortions are morally acceptable was also defeated, 353 to 150. 10

This essay continues below.

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bullet 2003-JUN-4: USA: D&X Bill passes House & Senate: The House and Senate have both passed bills banning D&X procedures (a.k.a. Partial Birth Abortions). The bill allows D&X procedures if the woman's life is at risk. A Democratic amendment which would have allowed the procedure if needed to prevent very serious disabling health consequences to the woman was defeated. President Bush urged that the two versions be harmonized quickly so that he can sign the resultant bill into law. More details.
bullet 2003-JUN-9: USA: Washington rumor mill in overdrive about Court vacancy: Rumors are circulating that a vacancy will soon open in the U.S. Supreme Court. NARAL, a pro-choice group, allegedly will run a series of TV ads showing a woman reacting negatively to a newspaper headline that says: "Abortion Outlawed--Court Overturns Right to Choose." Faith 2 Action is allegedly planning to organize Project Rosebud in which pro-lifers will be encouraged to send a red rose (a symbol of the pro-life movement) to President Bush to emphasize their desire to have a court nominee nominated who will oppose abortion access. 11
bullet 2003-JUN-19: USA: "Roe" asks the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse "Roe v. Wade:" "Roe" whose real name is Norma McCorvey has petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse its 1973 decision that made abortions available to women throughout the U.S. Prior to their ruling, abortions could only be obtained in certain states. It is possible for a plaintiff to ask the court to reverse a previous judgment. The Family Research Council cites reasons why the ruling should be overturned:
bullet McCorvey never did have an abortion; she decided to give birth and give the child up for adoption
bullet It is now known that abortion can cause emotional harm to some women
bullet Abortion can harm women physically.
bullet Human personhood begins at conception.
bullet There are no unwanted babies. Whenever a woman does not want to keep her newborn, she can give it up for adoption.

Pro-choice advocated would qualify or deny these points. 12 Her petition was denied.

bullet 2003-JUN-23: USA: Southern Baptists modify abortion statement: In 1971, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution that opposed abortion in all cases except if "the mother's health was in question." Later in the 1970's, all support for abortion ended in the SBC. However, the Convention never repealed the resolution until now. Dr. Richard Land, head of SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, found the health exception "lamentable," but said it can serve as a warning. Land said: "It's not a position we've had for the last 30 years. We have been a strongly pro-life denomination. If many of our leaders and many of our people could be confused or blinded by the spirit of the age on this issue in the early '70s, then it could happen again." Joan Maloof, who is a post-abortion counselor, said making an exception for the "health" of a woman, can easily be misused. She said: "It's a loophole, but it can be a convenient excuse." 13

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  1. Angela Macias, "Bill would require telling women fetus feels pain," at:
  2. "New Parental Consent Bill Introduced," KXAN-TV News, 2003-APR-8, at:
  3.  Andrew Pritchard, "Abortion bill with waiting period signed by Pawlenty: The Democrat-controlled Senate voted 41-24 for the bill,"  The Minnesota Daily, 2003-APR-15, at:
  4. Rob Jennings, "Laci Peterson case tied to Roe debate," Daily Record, Parsippany NJ, 2003-APR-20, at:
  5. "Jim Kopp stands tall," Joe Pavone, at:
  6. "Illinois House Approves ERA: Amendment Split State 20 Years Ago," NBC5.COM, 2003-MAY-21, at:
  7. Les Kjos, "Equal Rights Amendment pops up again," United Press International, 2003-MAR-27, at:
  8. Dann Denny, "More women using morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy,"  Herald-Times, Bloomington IN, 2003-MAY-21, at:
  9. David Brody, "Military Abortion Amendments Rejected," Family News in Focus, 2003-MAY-23, at:
  10. Eric Gorski, "Presbyterians affirm abortion stance: Church adds language showing concern for unborn child in late-term procedures," Denver Post, 2003_MAY-30, at:
  11. "Participate NOW! Join US in Project ROSEBUD," Faith 2 Action, at:
  12. " 'Roe' Recants, Asks Court to Overturn Abortion," Family Research Council, Washington Update, 2003-JUN-19.
  13. Terry Phillips, "Southern Baptists Remove Exception to Abortion Policy," Focus on the Family, 2003-JU-23, at:

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Copyright 2003 & 2004 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Created: 2003-APR-8
Latest update: 2004-MAR-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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