New Center Serves Expectant Mothers

THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, May 28-A Salt Lake group opposed to abortion plans to open an office in the Park City area. Park City and surrounding Summit County were chosen because of the area's relatively high numbers of abortions, reported The Salt Lake Tribune.

The branch's activities will include counseling and some material support for women who decide against abortion, said the report.

“Our goal is to provide assistance to women, and couples, really, that have unexpected pregnancies and don't know where to turn,” said Dean Velasco Jr., president of the Pregnancy Resources Centers, according to the report.

He added that he doesn't want to be labeled “anti-abortion.”

“It's a term we're not too fond of. While we don't approve of abortion, it's not our focus. … We're not involved in political lobbying or demonstrations. We're not a militant group,” he said.

The group believes in the sanctity of human life, said the paper, adding that they said they would counsel any woman considering abortion to “make sure they're making a decision with all facts and with open eyes … we want these people to avoid making any rash decision they could regret for the rest of their life.”

An Unborn Child Is Not A Human Being, Rules Court

ASSOCIATED PRESS, May 27-A state appeals court ruled May 26 that a woman accused of trying to drink her unborn child to death could not be charged with attempted murder because a fetus is not a human being, reported the Associated Press.

The appeals court ruled in favor of Deborah Zimmerman, whose daughter was born with a blood-alcohol twice the level considered intoxicated under Wisconsin law, said AP.

“The term ‘human being’ was not intended to refer to an unborn child and Deborah's prenatal conduct does not constitute attempted first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless injury,” said the court.

The report said that Zimmerman allegedly told a nurse, “I'm just going to go home and keep drinking and drink myself to death and I'm going to kill this thing because I don't want it anyway.”

Authorities argued that Zimmerman should be charged with attempted murder based on the state's ‘born alive’ rule” which states that “a person can be charged with murder if he or she harms a pregnant woman and her fetus is born alive and then dies,” reported the paper.

“Prosecutors argued that the law should be extended to attempted murder if a fetus is born with injuries but survives,” said the report. Zimmerman's baby — who is now 3 years old and with foster parents — is healthy.

Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, was reported saying that the appeals court is “behind the times” because Wisconsin has passed laws to protect fetuses.

Yeltsin Move Will End Russian Death Penalty

REUTERS, June 1-Russian President Boris Yeltsin plans to commute all remaining death sentences and empty death row, which in effect will eliminate capital punishment, reported Reuters.

The report said that Robert Tsivilev, head of the presidential Pardons Commission, “expected the president to sign four decrees this week which would commute all Russia's remaining death sentences to lengthy prison terms.

“In practice, Russia will join those countries that do not have the death penalty. I think this is a big step in the direction of democracy and civilization for our country.”

Earlier in the year, Yeltsin commuted the sentences of 400 of the 716 prisoners on death row and the decrees commuting the remaining prisoners were already written and awaiting the president's signature, said the report.

In 1996 Yeltsin placed a moratorium on the death penalty “as part of Russia's bid to join the Council of Europe, which forbids member states to execute prisoners in peace time,” said the report.