National Media Watch

Clinton Steps Back From ‘Moderate’ Abortion Stand

ASSOCIATED PRESS, March 7 — Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who earlier this year seemed to be reaching out to the pro-life movement, criticized the Bush administration’s policy of withholding aid from overseas groups that perform abortions.

Clinton spoke March 6 at a New York University forum to mark the 10th anniversary of the United Nations’ fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. She said 20 million women worldwide have abortions every year, 68,000 die and many more are injured.

President Bush, who opposes abortion except in cases of rape or incest or when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life, reinstituted the so-called global gag rule when he took office, the report said.

Under the rule, overseas non-governmental organizations that perform abortions or advocate the legalization of abortion are ineligible for U.S. government money.

Controversial Family Planning Bill Approved

Spokesman REVIEW, March 2 — The Idaho Senate, in an 18-17 vote, passed a family planning bill that would provide funding to Planned Parenthood, the Spokesman Review of Spokane, Wash., reported.

Proponents argued it was a positive step toward lowering future Medicaid costs, considering that nearly 40 percent of all Idaho births currently are paid for by the program. But opponents said it would fund organizations that advocate abortion — even though the bill specifically forbids funding for abortions.

Planned Parenthood, which is the largest provider of abortions in the United States, would get $25,000 if the bill passes. It does not offer abortions in Idaho, but does provide information about abortions.

“This will allow … Planned Parenthood to counsel minors on abortion,” said Sen. Gerry Sweet, R-Meridian. “They will give out condoms (and) birth control pills to our minor children – all without your consent or knowledge. … I will not support any legislation that leads to the funding of Planned Parenthood.”

The bill would offer services to men and women who are enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Muslims and Christians Try to Repair Relations

ASSOCIATED PRESS, March 7 — With two drug dealers behind bars and religious animosity ruled out as a motive in the killing of a Christian Egyptian family, Muslims and Christians set about the difficult task of trying to repair relations that were severely strained by speculation that Muslim fanatics were responsible for the deaths, AP reported.

Two men were arrested March 4 and charged with the brutal slaying of the Coptic Christian family that came to the United States in 1997. Edward McDonald, 25, who rented a second-floor apartment above the Armanious family, and an acquaintance, Hamilton Sanchez, 30, pleaded not guilty to four counts of felony murder — killings that took place during the commission of another crime.

“Our community is very emotionally upset,” said Ahmed Shedeed, director of The Islamic Center of Jersey City. “We had a feeling it wasn’t someone from our community. We really have to work on healing. We have been working with the (Coptic) Church for a long, long time and I have a very good relationship with them.”

AP reported the leader of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenouda, had cautioned against rushing to judgment until police completed their investigation, according to his spokesman, Maged Riad.