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BY Jim Cosgrove
WASHINGTON POST, May 3—Virginia Gov. Mark Warner formally apologized for the state's embrace of eugenics, denouncing a practice under which some 8,000 people were involuntarily sterilized from 1927 until as recently as 1979.
“The eugenics movement was a shameful effort in which state government never should have been involved,” Warner said.
The governor's statement marked the first time that a U.S. governor has formally apologized for eugenics, a practice that was adopted by 30 states and resulted in the involuntary sterilization of an estimated 65,000 Americans.
Pro-Life Picketer Vindicated
THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER, May 2—When Ann Norton's pro-life sign showing a color photo of a bloody, aborted baby's head was torn from its backing by a passerby, a Kalamazoo police officer was dispatched to the scene.
To Norton's surprise, she was threatened with arrest for violating section 750.38 of the Michigan Penal Code, a criminal law that prohibits the public display of pictures of murder.
Earlier this April, a federal judge signed a Consent Judgment permanently enjoining the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and several of its officers from arresting Norton under this arcane Michigan law.
As part of a settlement with the City of Kalamazoo, Norton agreed to dismiss her claims for damages against the individual police officers.
In turn, the City agreed to pay Norton $650 as part of this settlement.
According to Norton, a portion of the money from the City will be used to purchase several new pro-life signs to aid her in the future.
Abortion Clinic Loses Lease
OPERATION RESCUE WEST, May 1—The Abbey Company, landlord to the San Diego abortion facility Family Planning Associates (FPA), has notified pro-lifers they will not renew the clinics lease. FPA controls 6700 square feet of office space.
The news came as a stunning victory for pro-lifers who have faithfully maintained a presence at the abortion facility, since it first moved to La Mesa in 1987.
The Abbey Company decided not to renew FPA's lease after police in riot gear, SWAT officers, and bomb-sniffing dogs were called out for the annual observance of the Roe v. Wade anniversary in January of 2001. Pro-life activists' midweek presence and years of pressure at FPA was also mentioned as a factor.
“My company has come to the conclusion that having Family Planning as a tenant is a detriment to the project,” stated an Abbey Company representative in a letter to pro-lifers.
BY Phil Lenahan
Filipinos Sue ‘Catholics' for a Free Choice
CATHOLIC FAMILY & HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTE, April 19 — A group of pro-life and pro-family advocates in the Philippines is suing Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC) for deceptive advertising.
For the past few months, CFFC has purchased billboards and newspaper advertisement in cities worldwide, which claim that Catholic bishops “ban” condoms, and that the Church is responsible for the deaths of millions of people due to HIV/AIDS.
In response, the Filipino group has lodged a court complaint against CFFC, stating the ad campaign breaches the country's code of ethics in advertising.
According to the complaint, the CFFC advertisements are guilty of “dishonest advertising” and “open and direct disparagement” of religious beliefs.
Canadian Court Rejects Appeal
THE LONDON FREE PRESS, April 19 — The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the case of Toronto homo-sexual/AIDS activist James Wakeford who was requesting legal assisted suicide.
The case, James Wakeford vs. Attorney General of Canada was dismissed without comment. The Supreme Court of Canada had already decided on the assisted suicide question in 1993 when it rejected the appeal of Lou Gehrig's disease sufferer Sue Rodriguez, noting that laws against assisted suicide did not infringe her constitutional rights. Wakeford's lawyer, David Corbett, insisted that the case was different from that of Rodriguez since Wakeford is able to self-administer the lethal drugs whereas Rodriguez was unable to do so.
Adult Stem Cell Therapy May Stall MS
ASSOCIATED PRESS, April 17 — Adult stem cell therapy has helped to delay multiple sclerosis symptoms in some patients with a severe form of the disease.
University of Washington Medical Center researchers reported initial success with an experimental therapy in which they filtered stem cells from the blood of 26 patients with MS using a new magnetic method.
Then they wiped out the patients' faulty immune systems, reintroduced the stem cells into the patients' bloodstreams, and within nine days, new immune cells had begun to grow.
BY Jim Cosgrove
26th Annual March For Life to Take Place in January
WASHINGTON—The March for Life will once again be held in the nation's capital on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the 26th annual march will begin at noon on Jan. 22, 1999, according to Nellie Gray, president of National Right to Life.
The theme of the march will be “For What Shall It Profit A Man, if He Gain the Whole World, and Lose His Own Soul.” This topic will be reflected in the convention the day before, and also in the student essay, poem, and poster contests leading up to the march.
Quote of the day:
“To have people watch someone be killed, I think it's a low in journalism.”
—Anthony Cardinal Bevilaqua of Philadelphia, commenting on the Nov. 22 60 Minutes segment showing Dr. Jack Kevorkian administering a lethal dose of drugs to a terminally ill man.
BY Jim Cosgrove
Senator Proposes National Parental-Consent Law
WASHINGTON—Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) introduced legislation July 30 that would require a parental-consent nationwide before teenage girls could obtain abortions or contraceptive services.
Ashcroft's bill would apply to all hospitals, clinics, and other facilities that receive federal funds. It would nationalize the prior consent requirements on abortion that now exist in 20 states, and would for the first time apply in all states the same restrictions regarding access to contraceptives.
The new bill, dubbed “Putting Parents First,” would impose a new federal policy on the 30 states that do not require parental consent in the case of women younger than 18.
Ashcroft said that in the absence of nationwide rules, the efforts to enforce parental consent in states that have such laws would be thwarted by the absence of such laws in neighboring states. Federal action is also justified in this case because the public wants it, Ashcroft asserted. He cited polls suggesting that 74% of Americans favor a requirement of parental consent in the case of teenage girls seeking abortions.
“When you're talking about opportunities for parents to protect the interests of young people, it's always a good time,” he said. “The second point is that even if it weren't, I think that our responsibility for good governance exceeds our responsibility for politics.” (Pro-Life Infonet)
Pro-Life Nurses Granted Right to Sue Over Dismissal
ALBANY, N.Y.—Two nurses who claim they were fired for their religious opposition to abortion have a right to sue the hospital that dismissed them, an appeals court ruled July 30.
A New York state Supreme Court justice dismissed a suit filed by the nurses last July, saying that although health care employees may excuse themselves from participating in abortion procedures under state law, they do not have the right to file a civil suit if they are penalized for doing so. But the mid-level state Appellate Division modified that decision unanimously, saying that the part of their case alleging religious discrimination could go to trial.
The ruling determined that the nurses showed their opposition to abortion was a morally based belief, and they “have also sufficiently demonstrated that they were terminated due to these beliefs.”
Albany Medical Center maintained that the nurses were dismissed in November 1996 for refusing “to render patient care as directed” to a woman who needed an “evacuation procedure” after her unborn child had died.
Michael McDermott, who is representing the two nurses, Deborah Larson and Christine Thornton, said he was “ecstatic” with the ruling. It represents the first time challenge to a 1971 statute granting employees the right to opt out of participating in abortions, but no legal remedy if they are punished.
The New York State Right to Life Committee and the New York State Catholic Conference filed friend-ofthe-court briefs in the case, saying the case “involved is the protection of conscientious objectors to abortion.”
Catholic Conference Executive Director John Kerry said he hopes the case will “establish a precedent for laws that will prevent discrimination for abortion objectors, regardless of religion.” (Pro-Life Infonet)