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ABORTION NEWS

From 2005-APRIL TO JUNE

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Sponsored link.

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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:

bullet2005-APR-05: CO: Governor Owens vetoes emergency contraceptive bill: Governor Bill Owens vetoed House Bill 05-1042. Titled "Concerning the Availability of Emergency Contraception to a Survivor of a Sexual Assault," it would have required all hospitals in the state to inform female rape victims of the availability of emergency contraception (EC). Owens vetoed the bill because it does not require hospitals to explain a "full, balanced and detailed array of information" about all of a rape victim's options. This would presumably include telling the woman that EC occasionally can prevent an embryo from implanting itself in the wall of the uterus. Most pro-lifers believe that human personhood starts at conception; many believe that EC can be an abortifacient. Also, it does not specifically protect the right of institutions to refuse to give the woman emergency contraception. Finally, it would force some, presumably religiously based, hospitals to inform a patient of a treatment that they believe is immoral. He wrote: "This bill does not give patients all the information that they deserve, nor does it safeguard basic freedom of conscience. Accordingly, I have vetoed this bill." 8
bullet2005-APR-06: SC: Legislature passes fetal rights bill: Representative Ralph Davenport (R-Boiling Springs) introduced a fetal rights bill which would grant every pre-embryo, embryo and fetus rights of due process and equal protection. Rights would begin at fertilization. The bill was passed by a vote of 15 to 5 by the House Judiciary Committee today. Critics suggest that the bill would be short lived if signed into law because it would be declared unconstitutional in view of the Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973.
bullet2005-APR-12: Iran: Parliament liberalizes abortion law: In an effort to reduce "a booming but dangerous backstreet" abortion business, the Iranian parliament liberalized their abortion law to permit abortions "...within four months of gestation if the fetus is mentally or physically handicapped -- [thus] inflicting a financial burden on the family -- or the mother's life is in danger." Both parents would have to agree to the abortion. Three doctors as well as the coroner's office must confirm the diagnosis. Iran is a theocracy. The legislation has to be approved by the Council of Guardians, a religiously conservative group that checks all legislation to make certain it is in line with Islamic law and the Constitution. Currently, at least 80,000 illegal abortions are performed in the country annually. Some believe that the number is much higher. If found guilty of having an abortion, a woman faces a jail sentence of three to ten years and has to pay a fine. Noureddin Pirmoazen of the parliamentary health commission said. "We do not intend to give permission to kill an innocent person, but the birth of certain deformed children inflicts huge costs on the country and causing psychological trauma to themselves and the families." Some pro-life MPs opposed the bill, citing the early development of the fetus' soul. Pirmoazen said: "Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi puts the development of the soul at four months and 10 days when the fetus starts moving in the womb or the 20 weeks of pregnancy agreed among doctors...The ban on abortion has not reduced its occurrence but it has increased maternal deaths due to [illegal] abortion." 2
bullet2005-APR-13: GA: Eric Rudolph, the "Olympic Bomber" pleads guilty: Rudolph pleaded guilty to the bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, GA, and subsequent attacks of a gay bar and two abortion clinics. Two people were killed; 123 were wounded. He also told authorities where he had buried over 200 pounds of explosives. In return, prosecutors agreed to not ask for the death penalty. Rudolph was given four life sentences without parole. 3
bullet2005-APR-14: GA: Abortion clinics and federal agents on a heightened state of alert: There is concern that Eric Rudolph's 11 page manifesto will trigger one or more attacks on abortion clinics. Rudolph wrote, in part: "Abortion is murder. And when the regime in Washington legalized, sanctioned and legitimized this practice, they forfeited their legitimacy and moral authority to govern....Because I believe that abortion is murder, I also believe that force is justified ... in an attempt to stop it." He also attacked the granting equal rights to gays and lesbians.

Vicki Saporta, leads the National Abortion Federation, which represents 400 U.S. clinics. He said: "When one of these extremists puts out a call to action, oftentimes, others do try to follow in their footsteps...He clearly is speaking to the extremists who believe in justifiable homicide." Mike Campbell, spokesperson for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives commented: "We're making sure our liaisons have kept up with the clinics and to make sure the security clinics have is up to date. Most of them are very cognizant they can be a target of anybody who doesn't like abortion." Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue -- a conservative Christian pro-life group -- said:  "It looks to me as if he views himself as a one-man army against the entire world or at least the United States. I would concur with his opinion that abortion is murder. However, his frustration that leads to violence is never an acceptable way to accept this." 3,4
bullet2005-MAY-02: FL: Judge approves abortion access for 13-year old: A 13 year old girl, known only as L.G. has been in state custody for four years. She ran away from a Department of Children & Families (DCF) shelter and, 14 weeks ago, became pregnant. State law allegedly prohibits the DCF from allowing girls in their care to have an abortion. The girl, with the help of attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Association, launched a lawsuit to obtain permission to have an abortion. L.G. told the judge that she wanted an abortion. She argued on the basis of her age and inability to support a baby. The DCF argued that the girl is too young and immature to have an abortion. Juvenile judge Ronald Alvarez ordered that the girl undergo a psychological evaluation. He then ruled on MAY-02 that she would not be physically or emotionally harmed by the procedure, and gave her permission to have the abortion. Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida American Civil Liberties Union, said: "He ruled that she is competent, that she has made a decision and that she has a right to act on that decision." Marilyn Munoz, spokesperson for the DCF said the agency would "...respectfully comply with the court’s decision." President Jeb Bush (R) said: "It’s a tragedy that a 13-year-old girl would be in a vulnerable position where she could be made pregnant and it’s a tragedy that her baby will be lost." He said that the state would not appeal the judge's decision. 5
bullet2005-MAY-04: Abortion: Canada: Three current abortion-related controversies:  Three debates are underway in Canada:
bulletCanada has no law regulating abortions. The federal government is committed to making elective abortions available as an essential medical service across Canada. However, the government of New Brunswick refuses to fund abortions unless they are performed in a hospital and then only after the approval of two doctors. The federal government has initiated an "official dispute avoidance resolution process."
bulletDavid Little of Fredericton, NB, a pro-lifer, has refused to file an income tax form for the past seven years. He says that as a Roman Catholic, he cannot in good conscience allow his tax dollars to pay for abortions. He reportedly told Judge Graydon Nicholas: "I would rather suffer imprisonment than voluntarily surrender money to any person or institution who would use even the smallest portion of my money to perpetrate murder on any human being." His trial will be held in October.
bulletThe University of Western Ontario decided to award Henry Morgenthaler an honorary degree in its spring convocation. He has long been a champion of women's rights including access to abortion in Canada. A petition to ask the university Senate to withhold the degree has gathered 5,000 signatures. One donor has canceled a bequest of over $2 million (CAD) because of the decision to grant a degree. With matching funds from provincial and federal governments, this represents a loss to the university of about $4 million. 6
bullet2005-MAY-06: OH: Two state abortion bills are being processed through the Ohio House:
bulletHB 228 would outlaw all abortions in the state. It provides for a maximum sentence of 15 years. There would be no exception allowed for the health of the woman. That is, if the woman would suffer permanent disability if she did not have an abortion, then the state would insist that she not be allowed to have an abortion. There is no exception for rape. Transporting a woman out of state to get an abortion would be a criminal offense. The bill would modify  Sec. 2919.12. of Ohio Law to read:
"(A) No person shall do any of the following:
(1) Perform or induce an abortion;
(2) Transport another, or cause another to be transported, across the boundary of this state or of any county in this state in order to facilitate the other person having an abortion.
"

Since most counties in Ohio do not have abortion clinics, item (2) would leave many persons open to criminal charges if they were to drive a woman to a clinic for an abortion. The bill was introduced on 2005-APR-28. As of 2005-AUG-21, the first step for further consideration of the bill -- the assignment of a committee to study the text -- has not been made.
bulletHB 239: This is called the "Preference for Childbirth" bill. It would ban anyone paying for abortions with local-government employees' insurance, unless the woman's life is at risk. No public facility can be used to perform an abortion and no public employee may perform abortions unless the woman's life is threatened. It would permit tax-funded abortions only when health is threatened or whenever federal law requires
bullet2005-JUN-04 (approximately): "Baby Gender Mentor™" becomes available on the Internet: A new product is being sold on the Internet which can let a woman know the gender of an embryo she is carrying only five weeks into pregnancy. It costs $275 ($25 for the testing kit and $250 for the DNA analysis. It can be ordered online at http://www.pregnancystore.com/. (Canadians can order a kit by phone). The test involves a woman pricking her finger, much like persons with diabetes do, and transferring a drop of blood to the mail-in container. The sample is then mailed and the results are sent via Email. The test works by isolating blood cells from the embryo which circulate through the mother's blood supply, and detecting the presence or absence of a Y chromosome. They claim 99.9% accuracy. This is based on 2000 tests without an error. However, the testing was done under controlled conditions. It might not be as accurate in actual home use. Some medical ethicists and pro-life advocates have expressed concern that this kit may be used for what is euphemistically called "family balancing:" that is, engaging in successive conceptions and abortions until the "right" gender embryo is produced. The Mentor web site has a link to a TODAY show segment in which the kit is discussed.
bullet2005-JUN-29: Argentine court approves an abortion for one woman: Laws in Argentina prior to 1994 allowed abortions in some cases if the woman's health was involved. However, the country's 1994 constitution forbids abortions. On JUN-19, the Argentina Supreme Court approved an abortion to protect the health of an unmarried woman who already has two children. She allegedly suffers from a number of health problems, including heart disease and obesity. 10
bullet2005-JUN-30: SD: Federal judge blocked anti-abortion bill: U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier issued a preliminary injunction in response to a lawsuit initiated against the state of South Dakota by Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. This injunction prevented a South Dakota bill from becoming law on JUL-01. It would have required abortion doctors to tell patients that abortion terminates the life of "human beings, that she has a legal relationship with her "unborn child," and that abortion poses various medical and psychological risks. Judge Schreier wrote that: "The South Dakota statute requires abortion doctors to enunciate the state's viewpoint on an unsettled medical, philosophical, theological and scientific issue - that is, whether a fetus is a human being. The informed consent provisions of the statute are unconstitutional compelled speech rather than reasonable regulations of the medical profession. The amendments to the South Dakota informed consent provisions go much further than ... other cases reviewing similar statutes, and force abortion doctors to inform women that abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.... South Dakota may not....violate the First Amendment rights of abortion providers by compelling them to espouse the state's theology." 9

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References used:

  1. "Bill would give rights to fetus 'at fertilization'," Fox Carolina, 2005-APR-06, at: http://www.fox21.com/
  2. "Iran's Parliament eases abortion law. New legislation adopted in bid to cap dangerous backstreet business," Agence France Presse, 2005-ARR-13, at: http://dailystar.com.lb/
  3. Daniel Yee, "Abortion Clinics on Edge After Manifesto. Abortion Clinics on Edge After Olympic Bomber Eric Rudolph Manifesto Justifying Use of Violence," ABC News, 2005-APR-14, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  4. Eric Rudolph, "Full text of Eric Rudolph's written statement," Associated Press, 2005--APR-15, at: http://www.news-record.com/
  5. "Florida judge approves abortion for 13-year-old. Teen ruled 'competent' to make decision to terminate pregnancy," Associated Press, 2005-MAY-03, at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com
  6. "New Brunswick told to cover all abortions...or else," Today's Family News, Focus on the Family, Canada, 2005-MAY-04.
  7. The text of these bills can be read at: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/ Enter the bill number, click on "House" and click on "Go." Bill 228 is at: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us
  8. Letter from Governor Bill Owens to the Colorado House, 2005-APR-05, at: http://www.colorado.gov/
  9. Joe Kafka, "Judge temporarily blocks SD abortion law," Associated Press, 2005-JUN-30, at: http://www.aberdeennews.com/
  10. "Argentine Court Approves Limited Abortion," my ustinet news, 2005-JUN-29, at: http://news.usti.net/

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Copyright © 2005 and 2006 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Created: 2005-APR-06
Latest update: 2006-JAN-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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