National Media Watch

Senator Calls for Halt of Abortion Pill Sales

BALTIMORE SUN, Nov. 27 — The Food and Drug Administration will restrict sales of the abortion pill known as RU-486 if additional deaths are linked to the medication. That's what Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said the FDA told him, according to the Baltimore daily.

The drug is under investigation following reports that four California women died after using it.

“Increasingly, they are aware that it is a dangerous drug,” said DeMint, who met with then-FDA Commissioner Dr. Lester Crawford during the summer and has introduced legislation to suspend sales of the drug.

Opponents say that hundreds more women's deaths and injuries have resulted from the drug, but have not been reported to the FDA.

“I don't know how many women have to die before this drug is removed from the market. I think one is enough,” said Monty Patterson, the father of 18-year-old Holly, who died from septic shock two years ago after taking RU-486.

Canadian Tribunal Upholds Knights’ Case

GLOBE AND MAIL, Nov. 29 — A Vancouver, British Columbia, Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the Knights of Columbus were entitled to not allow a lesbian couple to hold a wedding reception at their hall but that the organization should pay $2,000 to the women because it had affronted the couple's dignity, feelings and self-respect, reported the Toronto daily.

Deborah Chymyshyn and Tracey Smith had booked the hall for a Nov. 1, 2003, reception following their outdoor “wedding” ceremony. They claim that they did not know that the hall was operated by a Catholic organization. Those who confirmed the rental did not know that the event was celebrating a same-sex union. The Knights canceled the rental once the truth was discovered.

In their ruling, the tribunal said that the Knights could not be compelled to act in a manner contrary to their “core religious beliefs,” but that “that right is not absolute.”

Diocese Will Allow Celebrations Without Priests

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Nov 29 — Because of a growing lack of priests, the Diocese of Belleville, Ill., stated that it will allow deacons or laypersons to perform “Sunday Celebrations” in emergency situations, said the Associated Press.

Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton wrote a letter to parishes stating that it has become more difficult to ensure that a priest will always be available on Sunday.

The special rite can include the distribution of holy Communion. It may be used only as a last resort, such as when a sudden illness leaves a parish without a priest. Also, the rite may be performed only with a written mandate from the bishop.