Abortion - Archive

March 2006: Abortion

FDA Reports 2 More Deaths After RU 486 Use

South Dakota Abortion Ban

Missouri Supreme Court Upholds Telling Women the Abortion Risks and Alternatives

6th Circuit Court: Abortion Laws Do Not Always Require Health Exceptions

Abortion Providers Admit Humanity of Unborn

TX Parental Notification Law Lowers / Delays Teen Abortions…

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FDA REPORTS 2 MORE DEATHS AFTER RU 486. Two additional deaths have been reported after women took RU-486 or Mifeprex, U.S. regulators said 17Mar06. The FDA said it has not been able to determine the cause of the newly reported deaths. Four previously reported fatalities were linked to a bacterial infection that developed after the women took the abortion pill vaginally; it is sold by privately held Danco Labs. [Reuters.com, 17Mar06]

 

SD ABORTION BAN. SD legislature has passed an abortion ban & Gov Rounds signed the bill 6Mar06.

“In the history of the world, the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society. The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society. I agree with them.”

Seven other states are currently considering similar legislation, including OH, TN, KY, IN, GA, SC, AL & MO.

[week of 6Mar06] The TN Senate rebuffed the State Supreme Court by voting 24-9 to put on the ballot a proposition that says there is no right to abortion in that state’s constitution (the Court has ruled that the TN Constitution grants women a greater right to abortion than the U.S. Constitution.). The vote was the first step of many toward officially amending the state constitution. The measure would go before voters if the General Assembly approves it twice over the next 2 years. [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/nation/3713265.html, 9Mar06; FRC, 10Mar06]

ABORTION BAN SIGNED INTO SD LAW (3/06)

The House previously passed the legislation 47 to 22. The tally of the Senate vote on 23Feb06 was 23 to 12.

Republican Governor Mike Rounds signed the bill on 6 March 2006.  [update]

In 2004 Gov. Rounds vetoed a similar bill after it had passed the Senate vote, because the bill did not ensure that existing abortion restrictions would remain in effect while the law went to the courts, as it was expected to. This bill has been modified to address that concern. Gov. Rounds has said in the past he would “look favorably” on an abortion ban if it would “save life.”

The bill, which passed the Senate by a 23-12 vote, makes abortion a felony in the state, punishable by up to five years imprisonment. The only exception to the South Dakota law would be cases where the life of the mother was in danger. Lawmakers successfully avoided making changes to the bill that would allow abortions in cases of rape, incest, or for the “health” of the mother, exceptions which usually cripple the application of laws against abortion.

“We applaud the courage of the South Dakota legislature in voting to ban abortion and end this tragic violence against women and children,” Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said in a press release today.

“With several states waiting in the wings to ban abortion, momentum is clearly building nationwide to overturn Roe. Polls are showing that more and more Americans are becoming uncomfortable with abortion and the overwhelming majority of our nation’s young people feel abortion is ‘immoral’.”

The addition of two new Supreme Court judges nominated by President Bush, Justices John Roberts Jr. and Samuel Alito Jr., has given fresh motivation to the work of protecting the life of the unborn.

“It is a calculated risk to be sure, but I believe it is a fight worth fighting,” said Sen. Brock Greenfield, a Republican who is also director of South Dakota Right to Life.

South Dakota is the first of six states currently working to bring in legislature that would see a broad ban placed on abortion. Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee have anti-abortion legislation in various stages moving towards full implementation.

A Task Force was convened at the direction of the SD legislature. The committee met during the summer and fall of 2005, heard testimony, and collected research concerning the effects of abortion. The Task Force collected over 3,500 pages of research and over 2,000 affidavits from women who have had an abortion.

The Task Force found, “that it is simply unrealistic to expect that a pregnant mother is capable of being involved in the termination of the life of her own child without risk of suffering significant psychological trauma and distress.” Additionally, in regard to maternal death due to abortion, the Task Force wrote, “it is clear that the CDC statistics do not include the vast majority of deaths due to abortions because they do not include deaths from suicide, deaths from physical complications from abortions, and deaths due to any of the cancers in which abortions may be a significant contributing factor.”
[By Gudrun Schultz, PIERRE, South Dakota, 23Feb06, LifeSiteNews.com]

 

ABORTING ROE: STATE ABORTION BANS HAVE POTENTIAL TO DO MORE THAN OVERTURN THE LANDMARK ABORTION RULING. The rural northern state of South Dakota passed the first ban on abortion since the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that decriminalized abortion. Mississippi passed a similar abortion ban out of committee and on to their House. That state’s governor has already indicated that, if passed, he will sign the bill into law.

South Dakota and Mississippi have become leaders in a growing movement to challenge the 33-year old abortion case law head on. More pro-life legislation than ever, from parental notification to clinic regulations, continues to flood the statehouses across the nation, giving pro-life forces a great boost in morale. But these incremental successes will never achieve total victory.

There has long been concern that to strike the Roe decision outright would cause the issue of abortion to revert back to the existing laws on the books in the 50 states. Some states would allow abortion, while others would prohibit it. This would create a division in the nation not experienced since the Missouri Compromise designated states as “slave” and “free.”

However, the South Dakota abortion ban and others making their way through state legislatures have the potential to do more than merely cast the lots of future generations to the whims of the states.

It [might plug] the “Blackmun Hole,” a startling admission that if personhood could be established for the pre-born, the arguments in Roe would collapse. Justice Harry Blackmun wrote in the majority opinion for Roe v. Wade in 1973, “The appellee and certain amici [pro-lifers] argue that the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well-known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life
woul
d then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.”

During Blackmun’s time, the “well-known facts of fetal development” were a far cry from what is known today. Ultrasonography and DNA testing were yet to be invented. In 1973, most held that “life” began at “quickening,” or when a woman first feels movement of the baby in the womb at 18 to 24 weeks.

The science of fetology in 1973 was not able to prove, as it can now, that a fully human and unique individual exists at the moment of fertilization and continues to grow through various stages of development in a continuum (barring tragedy) until natural death from old age. With the advent of a newly aligned Supreme Court, this is the first time in over three decades, that there is any realistic hope that the new information about the humanity of the pre-born can be legally reconsidered, and the matter of personhood revisited.

The South Dakota abortion ban states, “life begins at the time of conception” and again “each human being is totally unique immediately at fertilization.”

If the Court considers the humanity of the pre-born child, for which there is overwhelming scientific evidence, it could restore the legal protections of personhood to the pre-born under the 14th Amendment as Blackmun foretold, stopping abortion immediately in all fifty states. Polls show that America is increasingly becoming more pro-life, and that trend is especially strong among the younger, post-Roe generation. [http://www.operationrescue.org/?p=360; LifeSiteNews.com NewsBytes, 7Mar06; Cheryl Sullenger]

MISSOURI SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TELLING WOMEN ABORTION RISKS, ALTERNATIVES…24 hours before an abortion is performed. The court rejected arguments by abortion businesses that the law was too vague or infringed on the so-called right to abortion. The unanimous ruling by the state’s high court said the law did not run afoul of the state’s constitution.

“The statute merely codifies the physician’s duty to obtain informed consent from a patient prior to an abortion and creates a criminal or disciplinary liability if the physician knowingly fails to fulfill that duty,” the court explained.

However, Planned Parenthood abortion centers plan to continue their case at the federal court level, even though the Supreme Court has upheld similar laws in other states. The Missouri court cited the 1992 Casey ruling upholding the portion of PA’s abortion law requiring the information be given to women.

In December, a federal judge allowed the 24 hour waiting period component of the Right to Know measure take effect, but he’s not allowing the information aspect of the measure to be enforced. Under the law, the information would include “risk factors, including any physical, psychological or situational factors for the [abortion].” Planned Parenthood claimed that the information is vague and that its abortion practitioners may not understand what to tell women considering an abortion.

The measure was scheduled to become law in September 2003 when state lawmakers overrode a veto from then-Governor Bob Holden. Judge Scott Wright, who issued the December ruling, issued a temporary restraining order against the law, which the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily lifted in May 2004. Wright issued a second injunction after the appeals court ruling, prohibiting the law from taking effect under a separate state challenge.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 21 ruled 2-1 to uphold certain elements of Wright’s second injunction, requiring the order be sent back to Wright for modifications that would make the injunction more restrictive.

With the exception of medical emergencies, Wright said in his new order that abortion practitioners must discuss “truthful, non-misleading information of the nature of the proposed procedure” 24 hours prior to an abortion. Judge Wright also said abortion practitioners must make sure they obtain written consent before performing an abortion.

Observers say Wright is attempting to make sure Missouri law conforms with the Casey decision [LifeNews.com 28Feb06, http://www.lifenews.com/state1454.html  N Valko RN, 1Mar06]

ABORTION LAWS DO NOT ALWAYS REQUIRE HEALTH EXCEPTIONS SAYS SIXTH CIRCUIT APPEALS RULING – On February 24, 2006, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a “per se” requirement that all abortion statutes must contain an exception to protect the health or life of the mother in order to be constitutional. 

In September 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved mifespristone (RU-486) to induce abortion without surgical intervention.

Absent state regulation, once a drug is approved by the FDA, doctors may prescribe it for indications and in dosages other than those expressly approved by the FDA. This practice is called “off-label” use.

In 2004, Ohio passed a law that prohibited off-label use of RU-486, thus requiring that any use of RU-486 be in strict compliance with the FDA approved use.  The trial court blocked the entire law from going into effect, in part, because it did not contain a health exception.

In Planned Parenthood Cincinnati Region v. Taft, the appeals court ruled that laws which regulate abortion are not always required to have a health exception. Relying on the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood issued on January 18, 2006, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled that lower courts may not strike down entire statutes when a narrow ruling is possible. 

The Planned Parenthood Cincinnati Region v. Taft case is significant for two reasons: (1) the court ruled that a health exception is not always necessary for laws restricting abortion, and (2) the ruling is the first application of the Supreme Court’s decision in Ayotte.

When the High Court handed down Ayotte several weeks ago, Liberty Counsel stated that the decision will make it more difficult to strike down abortion laws in their entirety based on actual or hypothetical applications when only a small portion of the law conflicts with current Supreme Court precedent.

This case illustrates that striking down abortion laws will become much more difficult in the future. Mathew D. Staver [President and General Counsel, Liberty Counsel] commented on the case: “Roe v. Wade is being chipped away one case at a time. The time will soon come when we will look back on the Roe v. Wade decision with disgust, in the same way we disdain past Supreme Court cases that once established the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine or that sanctioned the internment of Japanese-Americans.” [28Feb06, LifeSiteNews.com, OH]

ABORTIONISTS ADMIT HUMANITY OF UNBORN; NOW CLAIMING RIGHT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT KILLING  – The pro-life movement has made such gains in arguing for the humanity of the unborn, that abortionists and their apologists are finding their rhetoric is too harsh, even in traditionally supportive political circles. The campaign slogans familiar to everyone who has read a news report on abortion: “my body my choice,” “women’s choice is a human right,” are no longer resonating with the US public that is increasingly confronted with the devastating psychological and social aftermath of abortion.

The problem is becoming so dire, that a leftist think tank, the Center for American Progress, is hosting a summit for abortionists, lobbyists and activists of all kinds to talk about how to address the situation. The meeting in Washington DC will attempt to forge a new public relations strategy. An article in the current edition of Newsweek featured Peg Johnston, an abortionist in upstate New York who will be attending the Washington meeting. Johnston said that she eschews
the e
uphemisms and jargon of the abortion lobby when speaking to clients. She says that her patients speak in terms of “babies” and “killing” so she uses those terms as well. “At first I thought they were picking up the language from [anti-abortion protesters] outside. But then I started really tuning in to my patients, and I realized, ‘She really feels that way’.” Johnston says. 

But the shift to a warmer, more “compassionate” public image by abortionists has been developing for some time. George Tiller, the abortionist in Wichita, Kansas who specializes in killing late-term babies, features on his website photos of a macabre ‘baptism’ ceremony for the dead child which clients can have for an extra fee. Claire Keyes told Newsweek that she plans to establish a “sanctuary space” in the abortion facility she directs in Pittsburgh and has offered ‘baptismal’ ceremonies.

Many abortion organizations, including Planned Parenthood, now include a “chaplain” on the payroll whose job it is to help clients overcome their “guilt feelings” for having killed what few now deny is a human child…Kirsten Moore [spokesman, Reproductive Health Technologies Project]: “Women who are thinking about ending a pregnancy are not asking, ‘Is this a life?’ They know that it is. They are asking, ‘Can I take care of this baby?” Moore told Newsweek.

Despite the best efforts of pro-lifers the result, at least among committed abortion activists, is a further distancing from the fundamental notion that it is wrong to kill. The shift may be one that pro-lifers are not prepared for. “We’ve really moved onto the next rung of the ladder haven’t we?” Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition: “What do you do when they admit that they are killing babies and claim the right to feel good about it?…Abortion was bound to lead to this and the idea has finally sunk in. We have made the case for the humanity of the unborn only to convince the abortionists to claim the right to kill human beings without guilt. It’s a moral shrug. How do you argue with a shrug?”
[Newsweek article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11590468/site/newsweek/page/2/; 28Feb06, LifeSiteNews.com, by Hilary White]

WOMAN WINS $$ FROM DOCTOR WHO “FAILED” ABORTION OF HER SON. She has been awarded $104,800, in what is believed to be a landmark ruling. The court’s decision to award her damages was based on her physical and psychological trauma at the time of the failed abortion in 1997.  The cost of raising her son, who is now 7 years old, was also a factor in the decision. Judge Susan Cohen [Melbourne County Court] said Dr. Kloss had failed in his duty of care when he left the woman with a living child. The child’s mother, almost 40, now has 2 additional children. At the time of the attempted abortion she was suffering from anxiety and depression.  The woman’s lawyer said his client loves her son and does not regret having him, even though she sued for damages against his “wrongful birth.” [Advertiser; LifeSiteNews.com, 2Mar06, By Gudrun Schultz; The Australian lists the figure at $100,000]

TEXAS PARENTAL LAW LOWERS / DELAYS TEEN ABORTION. TX’ rate of teen abortions fell after the state enacted a parental notification law, a new study found, but researchers also discovered an increase in the likelihood that girls nearly 18 will delay abortions so they don’t have to tell their parents.

The study [researchers, Baruch College at City University of New York] found girls 17 1/2 or slightly older were 34 percent more likely to have an abortion in the much riskier second trimester than girls already 18 when they became pregnant.

The findings were published in 9Mar06 New England Journal of Medicine.

Texas, the largest and most populous of the 35 states to enforce parental involvement laws, was chosen for the study because of its size and diverse population and because most girls live far from states that don’t require parental involvement.

After notification became law in TX, abortion rates among teens ages 15-17 fell 11% to 20% more than the rate among 18-year-olds, who were not affected by the law. The study acknowledges that abortion rates and birth rates among teens have been declining nationally, & in TX, since 1991. Lead researcher Ted Joyce said researchers tried to compensate for that by subtracting the drop in abortion rates among 18-year-olds — 7%— from the rate among the younger girls.

Researchers based their findings on birth and abortion certificates from 1998-1999, the two years before parental notification became law, and rates from 2000 to 2002, after the law was enacted.

“We think we have a unique research design that hadn’t been done before,” Joyce said. “The take-home message is these laws have impacts and they change kids’ behavior.” Joyce said he thinks the study’s innovative approach to analyzing data will set the standard for future studies. Instead of measuring teens’ ages at the time of abortion, the study measured them at the time of conception. Joyce:

“It’s a public health issue and we should worry about it,” he said. “If we really want to avoid abortions we should help kids avoid pregnancies.”

The results of the study contradicted a widely publicized report released earlier by the New York Times. The Times’ analysis of six states with parental involvement laws reported a scant effect on teen abortion.  [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/3711294.html; 9March06, Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau, [email protected]]

Experts are taking issue with the analysis released by The New York Times.

Michael New [professor, University of Alabama] said the mainstream media have a tendency to distort what’s going on in the states that have passed such laws. He said that The New York Times’ analysis was faulty, because it ignored long-term academic research. New said he could think of at least 4 [peer-reviewed, medical] journal articles that offer clear evidence that parental-notification laws reduce the number of abortions.

The role of parents in the lives of their children cannot be ignored. Vickie Flemming, a stay-at-home mom caring for three teenagers, said parents should be invited to participate in a big decision like abortion.  “As a parent, I need to be notified,” she said. “I get so angry that it’s against the law for a nurse to give them anything to relieve their headache or a muscle spasm. And yet, they can go get an abortion, have major surgery, kill a child — without my permission.”  [Family News in Focus, http://www.family.org/cforum/news/a0039755.cfm; 7March06]

US MEN’S GROUP LAUNCHES SUIT TO CALL FEMINIST BLUFF, WITH REGARD TO “REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE”. They say that if women have the “right” to abort any pregnancy without a man’s consent, the same right should exist for men who want to opt out of fatherhood. Calling their campaign, “Roe vs. Wade for Men,” the National Center For Men will file suit in United States district court in Michigan saying that the law is unfairly slanted towards women without due regard for the “right to reproductive choice” for men.

Turning the abortion rhetoric on its head, the group says, “Women can now have sexual intimacy without sacrificing reproductive choice. Women now have the freedom and security to enjoy lovemaking without the fear of forced procreation.”

The National Center for Men fully expects to lose the suit in the heavily feminist-biased courts but is pursuing the matter as a
means o
f opening a public debate about the double standard.

Concerned Women for America called the suit “deplorable.” CWA said [press release]: “(the) proposition is an outrage to responsible women and men and to those who know the importance of family and father-child relationships.” “This is merely an attempt for these men to avoid their responsibilities if their ‘girlfriends’ shoulder their own duties and refuse to have an abortion,” said Dr. Janice Crouse, [CWA’s Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute]. But the courts are not interested in upholding the integrity of family life or relationships between parents and children.

The campaign serves to illustrate the contradiction of an abortion-happy feminist movement and their supporters in courts favouring a “progressive” attitude towards “women’s rights” while continuing to hold men to a previous standard.

The National Center for Men says they will ask the courts to apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to allow men to “make family planning decisions after sex,” in exactly the same way women can. They argue that “at a time of reproductive freedom for women, fatherhood must be more than a matter of DNA: A man must choose to be a father in the same way that a woman chooses to be a mother.”

This argument also matches the logic of the academic branch of the abortion movement, the field of secular Bioethics. Dr. Peter Singer, the leading light of the Bioethics world argues that parenthood cannot be merely a biological matter. He has proposed that parents should be given the opportunity – up to 30 days after birth – to decide if a newborn is a person or if infanticide is a better choice for them. 

”There’s such a spectrum of choice that women have — it’s her body, her pregnancy, and she has the ultimate right to make decisions,” said Mel Feit, director of the men’s center. ”I’m trying to find a way for a man also to have some say over decisions that affect his life profoundly.” Matt Dubay of Saginaw, Michigan, in whose name the suit is being launched, told the Boston Globe, “What I expect to hear [from the court] is that the way things are is not really fair, but that’s the way it is. Just to create awareness would be enough, to at least get a debate started.”
[http://www.nationalcenterformen.org/page7.shtml;  Hilary White, 10 Mar06 LifeSiteNews.com]