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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:

bullet2004-JAN-1: TX: New laws restricting abortion take effect: Three new laws took effect at the start of 2004:
bulletThe Woman's Right to Know Act requires women to wait for 24 hours before having an abortion. She must be provided with information about the emotional and physical risks of abortion and of carrying a pregnancy to term. She is also to be provided with a directory of abortion resources and alternatives such as adoption programs, job training and financial help. The law also requires that abortions after 16 weeks be performed at a hospital or ambulatory surgical center. This would raise the cost of an abortion to $8,000 which would be very difficult for poor women to raise. Kae McLaughlin, executive director of the Texas Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League said: "It's been a tough year for reproduction freedom and pro-choice. The state leadership is in the hands of people who would deny women the right to choose." Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life said: "It's a huge difference. This has been our goal. We've achieved a goal that we've been seeking for many, many years because for the first time we have a chance for women to truly get the information that they need about abortion and alternatives to abortion.....Our goal is for there to be no woman in Texas who seeks an abortion because she feels she has no alternative."
bulletNew rules governing the licensing of abortion facilities will go into effect in 2004-FEB.
bulletA third law would deny federal funding to clinics that provide abortions paid for with private donations. "Planned Parenthood argued that without federal funds, it would no longer be able to provide Pap smears, family-planning services, breast and cancer screenings, and other health care to women." 1
bullet2004-JAN-22: DC: March for Life: Thousands of pro-life supporters marched from the White House to the U.S. Supreme Court on the 31st anniversary of the court's Roe v. Wade decision which made early-term abortions freely available throughout the U.S.
bullet2004-JAN-22: CA: Assembly celebrates freedom of abortion choice: The California legislature passed resolution AJR 57 by a vote of 49 to 25 affirming their "celebration" of the Roe v. Wade decision. The resolution was held on  the anniversary of the Court decision in 1973. It calls on the Congress and President to "uphold the intent and substance the 1973 United States Supreme Court decision" It urges Americans to "participate in the national celebration, 'The March for Women's Lives,' on April 25." All 49 Democrats voted for the resolution; 23 of 25 Republicans voted against.

Also on this date, supporters of the pro-life movement marched outside the state capital in Sacramento, asking that teen-aged women who have not reached the age of 18 be not allowed to choose an abortion without the consent of their parent(s). They also asked that the state deny poor women access to free abortions. Comments by pro-lifers appear to be based on the assumptions that an embryo and fetus is a human person, with full mental faculties from the instant of conception to birth. From their perspective, there is no moral difference between killing a fetus and strangling a newborn. Comments included:
bulletRandy Thomasson of Campaign for California Families said: "We were all in the womb once. With our hearts beating, our fingers grasping, and our brains working, each one of us enjoyed nine months of pre-born living in a special compartment that God designed to protect and nurture us. It's shocking that, despite science and technology proving these are babies, little human beings in the womb, California's Democrat legislators are celebrating the horrible procedure of abortion that destroys the most basic of rights – the sacred right to life."
bulletRepresentative Jay La Suer, (R-La Mesa), said, "We talk about the right of choice. But that child has no choice – has zero choice. We talk about celebration. I don't think we need to celebrate the deaths of 43 million people, albeit shall we say the murder of 43 million people. Picture in your mind what that child looks like when it's aborted, and the pain that it goes through – and they do feel pain – and ask yourself if you have the guts to go through that pain yourself. I'm pretty happy that my mother didn't believe in abortion. Those of you that want to celebrate this wouldn't even be able to celebrate it if your mothers believed in it – because you might not even be here. I have two lovely daughters. I have three little grand-boys. I'll celebrate them, but I won't celebrate the murder of 43 million people."
bulletDennis Mountjoy, (R-Arcadia), said, "It's a shame that we're celebrating Roe versus Wade. We ought to be in memoriam. Since 1973, 43 million unborn Americans have been aborted in this county. We recognize the Armenian genocide where 1.5 million Armenians were murdered. We recognize the Holocaust where somewhere around 6 million innocent Jews were murdered. We ought to be here to recognize that 43 million innocent Americans – whose only crime was that of being conceived – have been murdered. Are we that calloused that we don't care what's going on here? Forty-three million. That is an absolute genocide, and we ought not be celebrating it. We ought to be crying tears for the unborn Americans." 2
bullet2004-JAN-26: PORTUGAL: Abortion is criminalized in this largely Roman Catholic country except in pregnancies arising from rape or where there are serious health concerns for the woman. Trials of seven women concluded. They face sentences of up to eight years in jail if found guilty of having had an abortion. Also charged have been a doctor, and two of his employees. Seven parents, husbands or boyfriends of the women were also charged for the crime of giving emotional support to the women by allegedly accompanying them to the clinic. The prosecution suffered a severe setback when ultrasound scans of the seven women went missing. Outside the courthouse, pro-choice campaigners demonstrated in favor of abortion reform. They argued that the current laws force thousands of women every year to have abortions in back street clinics, often in highly unsanitary conditions. Legislator Odete Santos said: "The law should be declared unconstitutional because it does not respect the individual liberty guaranteed in the constitution." A petition has been circulating since 2003-NOV to decriminalize abortion. Various news reports indicate that 65,000 to 100,000 signatures have been collected; 75,000 are needed before a referendum can be held. In 1998, a law which would allow women to choose abortion during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy was rejected by a very narrow vote: 50.07% to 49.93%. Latest poll data shows that almost 3 in 4 Portuguese adults favor a new referendum, and that they would vote more than 2 to 1 in favor. 3,4 More info.
bullet2004-FEB-5: SD: Legislature attempts to define when human life begins: Representative Phyllis Heineman of Sioux Falls, SD explained that House Bill HB 1191 "...is basically two parts. It's saying let's try to define when we as a state, see that life begins. And then, let's put a prohibition on the termination of that life." The bill's current wording states that human life begins at conception in the light of scientific and medical evidence. Legislators apparently believe that the bill will prohibit abortions except under conditions where a mother's life or major bodily function was threatened by birth or continuation of the pregnancy. Heineman continued: "We're going to be careful in the language and there may need to be some amendments. We do want to make sure, as I said, there will be no criminal action against the woman. We want to make sure that a physician would have to knowingly terminate an abortion in order to be found guilty of it." She appears to be unaware of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade which prohibits a state from prohibiting early abortions. 5

Kate Looby of Planned Parenthood said that the bill is: " ...unconstitutional. It's not supported by the people of South Dakota; it will be costly to the taxpayers of South Dakota and the effects of this bill are so much more far reaching than anybody has really discussed to this point in terms of the impact on birth control....They need to find a different way of preventing abortions and that's going to the source. That's going to the real crux of the problem, which is unplanned pregnancies. We'll do everything we can to stop this bill. If it does pass and it is signed by the Governor, we will certainly take it to the courts because that's where it needs to go." The bill will be reviewed in the House State of Affairs Committee. The legal cost of defending this bill in the courts is estimated to be as high as a million dollars. 5

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bullet2004-MAR-1: CA: Court orders Catholic charity to violate its beliefs: California is one of 20 states in the U.S. which requires that all employer prescription drug plans include contraceptive coverage. Other states are: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont and Washington. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the use of contraceptives -- even by married couples -- is a serious sin. Catholic Charities hoped to be allowed to offer a prescription plan to its employees that did not include coverage of contraceptives. They have 183 full-time employees and had a $76 million budget in 2002. California law allows "religious employers" such as churches exemption from the law. But the California Supreme Court decided in a 6:1 ruling that Catholic Charities was not a religious employer because it offers its services to persons of all religions, and it hires employees from a variety of religions. Reaction was predictable:
bulletThe California Catholic Conference said it was disappointed at the ruling. They speculate that insurance coverage for abortion might be mandated in the future.
bulletThe American Civil Liberties Union reacted positively to the decision. They called it "a great victory for California women and reproductive freedom." 6
bullet2004-MAR-5: UK: Britain picks up the funding slack for UN family planning agency: On the day in which President George W. Bush came to power, he slashed the funding for the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). The IPPF supplies family planning services in 150 countries worldwide. These include abortion services where legal. According to The Guardian: "The IPPF has lost $15m a year as a result, some of which has since been made up by the EU, Sweden and Switzerland. It has meant that some basic family planning clinics in poor countries have had to close. Women are denied contraceptive help and advice, which the IPPF believes will lead to an increase in women risking their lives at the hands of back street abortionists." In an apparent response to the funding cut, the British Department for International Development  (DFID) has increased its funding from 4.5 to 6 million per year. Gareth Thomas, parliamentary under secretary of state, said the money was in recognition of "the difficulties that our friends in America have caused for those who operate in this area...The IPPF has been badly affected. We are keen to step up and help. We are clear that we need to do more on providing access to safe abortion services and to chronicle the level of unsafe abortions." 7
bullet2004-MAR-27: World: UK study of abortion-breast cancer link: The Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer in the UK reported the results of reanalysis of information from 53 epidemiological studies. Included were 83,000 women with breast cancer from 16 countries with liberal abortion laws. The study concluded that "Pregnancies that end as a spontaneous or induced abortion do not increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer." They commented on the unreliability of data from case-control studies, which groups opposed to abortion access often quote. The study concluded that "...studies of breast cancer with retrospective recording of induced abortion yielded misleading results, possibly because women who had developed breast cancer were, on average, more likely than other women to disclose previous induced abortions." 8
bullet2004-OCT-1: MO: Roman Catholic Archbishop recommends choice in voting: In a pastoral letter titled: "On our civic responsibility for the common good," Roman Catholic Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Archdiocese of St. Louis forbade Catholics to vote for candidates who support abortion access, physician assisted suicide, reproductive cloning, same-sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research. He calls these the five "intrinsic evils." He linked these topics to the Nazi Holocaust. 9
bullet2004-OCT-27: MO & CO: Pro-choice group lodges complaint with IRS: Catholics for a Free Choice is a non-profit group of Roman Catholics who promote women's access to abortion. They have asked the Internal Revenue Service to terminate the tax-exempt status of the Roman Catholic Archdioceses of St. Louis and Denver. The Archdioceses are public charities which are also tax-exempt. They are prohibited by IRS regulations from acting for or against political candidates. Catholics for a Free Choice have claimed that the Dioceses have urged Catholics to not vote for candidates who support choice in abortion, physician assisted suicide, same-sex marriage, etc. 10

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  1. Armando Villafranca, "New year will bring Texans new rules on abortions, higher tuition," Houston Chronicle, 2003-DEC-29, at: http://www.chron.com/
  2. "Lawmakers vote to 'celebrate' abortion. Opponent: We shouldn't be rejoicing in genocide of 43 million," WorldNetDaily, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/
  3. "Abortion trial wraps up in Portugal amid protests," Yahoo News, 2004-JAN-26, at: http://story.news.yahoo.com/
  4. "Abortion poll push in Portugal," The World News, 2004-JAN-27, at: http://www9.sbs.com.au/
  5. Kit Werbe, "Abortion Debate Heating Up," KSFY News, 2004-FEB-2, at: http://www.ksfy.com/
  6. "Catholics ordered to offer birth control," CNN.com, 2004-MAR-1, at: http://edition.cnn.com/
  7. Sarah Boseley, "Britain comes to aid of family planning agency snubbed by Bush," Guardian Unlimited, 2004-MAR-5, at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/
  8. "Breast cancer and abortion: collaborative reanalysis of data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 83 000 women with breast cancer from 16 countries," The Lancet, Vol. 363, 2004-MAR-27, Pages 1007 to 1016.
  9. Raymond L. Burke, "On our civic responsibility for the common good," 2004-OCT-1, at: http://www.archstl.org/ You may need software to read these files. It can be obtained free from:
  10. "Complaint filed with IRS against archdiocese. Bishop's statements cited," CNN.com, 2004-OCT-27, at: http://edition.cnn.com/

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Copyright © 2003 to 2007 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Created: 2003-DEC-29
Latest update: 2007-FEB-16
Author: B.A. Robinson

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