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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-APR-5: UK: Abortion to be shown on TV: According to Mirror.co.uk, a TV program is planned for British television which will show an abortion being performed on a woman who is four weeks pregnant. The program is called "My Foetus" and will be broadcast at the end of 2004-APR. The embryo -- incorrectly called a fetus in the news item --  will be placed on a glass dish and shown to the camera. At that stage, the embryo will be about 1/5" long, and look something like a tadpole. The structure that will develop into a head should be visible, as is a noticeable tail. The embryo will have structures like the gills of a fish in the area that will later develop into a throat. Remains of fetuses aborted at 10, 11 and 21 weeks will also be shown. A spokesperson for the Marie Stopes Clinic, where the operation was performed, said: "It's time to draw back the veil of secrecy." Pro-life groups indicated their displeasure. The Roman Catholic Church condemned it as "abhorrent." A spokesman for the Archbishop of Birmingham said: "We find it totally irresponsible of Channel 4." Mediawatch-UK said: "You don't need graphic images to have the debate." Charity Life said the "horror of the procedure" would prove abortion was wrong.

Julia Black - producer of the program said: "The debate must be brought up to date."
bullet2004-MAY-3: UT: New anti-abortion law takes effect: Senate bill 68, a strict law that bans public funding of abortions in Utah, took effect on this day. State funding to hospitals who perform abortions would be terminated. Exceptions to the law were provided in cases where hospitals perform abortions when the pregnancy was caused of rape or incest, or if the abortion was needed to prevent severe damage to a "major bodily function" of the woman
bullet2004-MAY: USA: Federal law: Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Representative Chris Smith (D-NJ) introduced a bill to the Senate and House during 2004-MAY called the "Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act." It would required abortion providers to inform women who are about to receive a late-term abortion that her fetus can feel pain. It would also give the woman the opportunity to have pain control medication administered to the fetus before the abortion. This would affect fewer than 1% of all abortions -- those performed at 20 weeks or later gestation. The bill is supported by a number of pro-life conservative Christian groups: the Southern Baptist Convention, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Right to Life Committee and the Family Research Council.
bulletTony Perkins of the Family Research Council said: "We cannot deny the medical evidence now before us. From testimony taken during the recent partial-birth abortion hearings and advancements in the field of in utero technology, science is telling us unborn children as young as 20 weeks old can feel pain. The evidence we have is clear, and we should not keep that evidence from women."
bulletA Zogby poll conducted in 2004-APR found that 77% of American adults were in favor of "laws requiring that women who are 20 weeks or more along in their pregnancy be given information about fetal pain before having an abortion." Sixteen percent were opposed. 2
bulletConcerned Women for America, a Fundamentalist Christian group bringing "...Biblical principles into all levels of public policy" states: "The medical communitys consensus is that unborn babies are 'very likely' to be 'extremely sensitive to pain during the gestation of 20 to 30 weeks,' according to testimony of Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand in Nebraska for Carhart v. Ashcroft. Anand said, 'This is based on multiple lines of evidence. Not just the lack of descending inhibitory fibers, but also the number of receptors in the skin, the level of expression of various chemicals, neurotransmitters, receptors, and things like that'." The court case mentioned above refers to the constitutionality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. 3

The cutoff date of 20 weeks gestation is significantly earlier in pregnancy than the 26 weeks that most medical researchers feel that fetuses can feel pain. However, it is far later than the seven weeks that some pro-life groups have been promoting as the fetal age when pain can be felt.

bullet2004-JUN-8: Israel: Cabinet proposes relaxation of abortion law: The Israeli cabinet approved a law which would allow women to have an abortion if they suffered from poor economic conditions. The absence of the representative from the National Religious Party permitted the ministerial committee for legislation to approve the bill. A "social clause" once permitted abortions on economic grounds. But the clause was dropped in the early 1980s after a bitter battle with ultra-Orthodox religious parties. Currently, abortions are restricted to instances where the pregnant woman is unmarried, or has emotional problems, or is the victim of incest, or where the continued pregnancy would present a health risk to mother or fetus. Generally, women in difficult emotional circumstances lie and pretend to have emotional problems in order to obtain an abortion. 4
bullet2004-JUN-11: Utah: Department of Health issued rule concerning abortions: The anti-abortion law which came into effect on May 3 caused a degree of chaos in Utah hospitals over terminating doomed pregnancies. A typical case might involve a fetus whose organs were developing outside of its body. "Utah hospitals and doctors stopped performing the rare procedures in cases of fatal fetal deformities..." The hospitals diverted women with doomed fetuses to one of three Salt Lake City women's clinics. The Utah Department of Health has now issued a rule that allows hospitals to resume abortions in such cases without violating the law, if they can prove that only "clinical" funds were used to fund the procedure. "Clinical" funds are those which come from health insurance, charitable donations or the patient's check. 5

This essay continues below.

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bullet2004-JUN-22: MO: Judge blocks informed consent law, for the second time: A new law was passed by the Missouri legislature in 2003. It requires that a woman visit a doctor for counseling and then wait for 24 hours before she is eligible to have an abortion. The law has had an interesting history in its short life. First, the governor vetoed it in 2003-JUL. Then the legislature overruled the veto during 2003-SEP. Next, U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright imposed a temporary injunction which prevented the law from being applied, The injunction was removed by a federal appeals court in 2004-MAY. Finally, Judge Wright reactivated the injunction on JUN-22. He wrote: "Plaintiffs are being forced to choose between performing abortions without any certainty that they are in compliance with the act, thereby risking imprisonment, fines, and professional censure, or ceasing the performance of abortions. Both of these options constitute irreparable harm to plaintiffs, their staff, and their patients." Apparently, the Judge believes that the law is so vaguely worded that a physician cannot be certain whether she/he meets its requirements. Vagueness appears to be a common feature of laws that restrict abortion access. It is causing many to be declared unconstitutional. 6

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  1. Emma Britton, "Outrage over plans to show abortion on TV," Mirroe.co.uk, 2004-APR-5, at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/
  2. Steven Ertelt, "New Bill Informs Women About Pain Babies Feel During Abortions," LifeNews.com, 2004-MAY-20, at: http://www.lifenews.com/
  3. "CWA Applauds Sen. Brownbacks Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act," Concerned Women for America, 2004-MAY-20, at: http://www.cwfa.org/
  4. Ruth Sinai, "Change to abortion law approved by cabinet," Haaretz.com, 2004-JUN-8, at: http://www.haaretzdaily.com
  5. Rebecca Walsh, "Abortion rule offers a solution for doctors," Salt Lake Tribune, 2004-JUN-11, at:  http://www.sltrib.com.
  6. "Judge Blocks Missouri's Informed Consent Law for Second Time," Citizen Link, Focus on the Family, 2004-JUN-24.

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

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Copyright 2004 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Created: 2004-APR-5
Latest update: 2004-JUN-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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