Physicians Affirmed in Their Right of Conscience
U.S. High Court Allows Inmate’s Abortion
Botched Abortion Kills Disabled KS Woman and Her Baby
Illinois Judge Will Not Stop Blagojevich Exec Order Against Pro-Life Pharmacists
Bush Administration Asks Supreme Court to Reinstate Federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban in an Appeal
South Dakota Panel Studies Whether Women Get Enough Abortion Information…
PHYSICIAN CONSCIENCE RIGHT – A federal court dismissed a lawsuit that sought to overturn the Weldon Amendment, a law forbidding state and local govts that receive federal funds from discriminating against health-care providers because they refuse to perform or refer patients for abortions. “This is a significant victory for pro-life health care workers who are protected by the Weldon Amendment,” said Chief Litigation Counsel Aden [Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom]. The U.S. District Court for D.C. made its decision 28Sept05 after granting Christian Medical Assoc & the Amer Assoc of Pro-Life OBGs the right to intervene as defendants. The court then dismissed the case filed [National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Assoc], saying the arguments against the amendment “fall short” and have no “satisfactory basis.” The NFPRHA argued the amendment is unconstitutional. Aden: “We applaud the court’s decision to dismiss the case and agree with its decision to allow our clients the right to be represented in any appeals, since it so clearly has ramifications for their members.” In its opinion the court said it cannot conclude “that the Weldon Amendment overreaches Congress’s spending powers, exceeds the permissible boundaries of legislative delegation, meets the rigorous void-for-vagueness test, or is otherwise constitutionally infirm on its face.” Aden: the decision upholds Congress’ intentions in enacting the legislation. [World Net Daily, 30Sept05; http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46589]
HIGH COURT ALLOWS INMATE’S ABORTION
Issuing its first abortion-related decision under new Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the Supreme Court refused yesterday to block the court-ordered transport of a female prison inmate to an outside clinic for an abortion.
The court’s two-sentence order capped five tense days of litigation. The woman, now 16 weeks pregnant, was battling a new Missouri policy forbidding prisons to assist women seeking to terminate their pregnancies, as corrections officials had done in seven previous cases during the last eight years.
Late Friday night, Justice Clarence Thomas, who handles emergency applications from the judicial circuit that includes Missouri, had intervened at the state’s request to stop the transfer of the prisoner — referred to in the lawsuit as “Jane Roe” — to a Planned Parenthood office in St. Louis on Saturday. Over the weekend, however, Thomas referred the case to the other eight justices, resulting in the decision announced yesterday.
The order came unaccompanied by a published opinion or recorded dissent, so there is no way to tell how many justices might have voted against the order — if any. Nor is there any way to know why Thomas agreed to a temporary stay after two lower courts had denied one, or what legal arguments ultimately prevailed among the justices.
Still, the order does suggest that, under Roberts, a majority of the court was not inclined to rush into a new abortion battle, even when implored to do so by a state where the anti-abortion movement is particularly strong. The order put renewed attention on the court and abortion cases just as the Senate plans confirmation hearings on White House counsel Harriet Miers, who President Bush has nominated to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She has been the swing vote on key abortion decisions in recent years, and Democratic senators have said they will question Miers on her views of abortion.
In seeking emergency Supreme Court intervention, Missouri had asked Thomas to give “heavy consideration” to its policy of “discourag[ing] abortions and encourag[ing] childbirth.”
But the state had a heavy legal burden: to show that it would face “irreparable harm” if it had to transport the woman. The state said that it would lose the $350 cost of a day’s prison guard salaries, as well as run the risk of an escape or injury to the prisoner, public or guards.
The federal district judge who initially ordered Roe transported for an abortion, Dean Whipple, has said that his ruling covered only the Missouri policy as it applied to her, and that he will hear arguments and decide the constitutionality of the policy generally later this fall.
Missouri’s Department of Corrections put the new policy into effect July 19, in response to criticism from antiabortion state legislators, state officials said. The legislators had said that the use of state-paid guards and vehicles to transport a prisoner to an abortion clinic violated the state’s abortion law, which says that “no state money, employees in the course of their employment, or facilities are to be used for abortions except abortions performed to save a woman’s life.”
Also under the law, which was adopted in 1986, no state money, employees, or facilities are to be used “for the purpose of encouraging or counseling a woman to have an abortion not necessary to save her life.”
Gov. Matt Blunt (R) said yesterday that he is “extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision” and added: “The decision is highly offensive to traditional Missouri values and is contrary to state law, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from being spent to facilitate abortions.”
Previously, Blunt had praised Thomas’s order delaying Roe’s release, contrasting it with previous decisions in the case by “activist judges.”
But abortion rights advocates say the Missouri policy effectively bans abortion for inmates. “Women do not give up the right to terminate a pregnancy when they enter prison any more than they give up the right to carry a pregnancy to term, and we are glad the court agreed,” said Talcott Camp, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project, which helped Roe after she wrote a letter to the ACLU.
Roe was pregnant before entering prison in Missouri. She was arrested in California in July on a Missouri warrant for a parole violation. While jailed in California, she asked to be taken for an abortion but was transferred to Missouri on Aug. 22, before her request could be met. Charles Lane
Washington Post October 18, 2005; Page A18
BOTCHED ABORTION KILLS DISABLED KANSAS WOMAN AND HER BABY — This is the story about an incredibly loving young girl named Christin. A very active high-school graduate and a beloved member of her softball team and community, she was sweet beyond the norm as so often is the case for children with her diagnosis. She had Down syndrome. (I have heard it said, anecdotally, the extra chromosome which characterizes Trisomy 21, encodes for love. For those of you blessed enough to know anyone with Down syndrome, you will likely agree.)
In Christin’s case, she was taken by her family at 28 weeks pregnant to Wichita, KS, to the infamous abortion site of Dr. George Tiller. At that time, a drug was administered to kill the baby and another drug to open the cervix for delivery or removal of the dead baby. After starting the procedure, which normally ta
4 days, Christin was sent to a local hotel to begin her labor. Somewhat surprisingly, she returned to the clinic the next day, the abortion procedure was completed and she was once again told to return to her hotel room. Immediately her condition began to deteriorate.
When she returned to the clinic, her symptoms were misdiagnosed as dehydration. She was given an IV and again sent back to her hotel where she began having episodes of vomiting and unconsciousness. She was advised to return to the clinic where she became unresponsive. By this time Christin was in serious trouble. According to one doctor who reviewed her autopsy report, she was “bleeding and oozing from every orifice of her body.” [by Dr. Kelly Hollowell, LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report 26Sept05]
ILLINOIS JUDGE WON’T STOP BLAGOJEVICH RULE AGAINST PRO-LIFE PHARMACISTS — An Illinois judge has refused to issue a temporary restraining order stopping a rule put in place by pro-abortion Gov. Rod Blagojevich that would require pharmacists there to dispense the morning after pill, which sometimes causes an abortion. They said to be forced to do so would violate their religious and moral beliefs. Sangamon County Judge John Belz would not block the governor’s rule because he claimed the pharmacists don’t yet meet the legal standards needed for him to do so because they had not exhausted other legal remedies. “I believe the plaintiffs are here early,” Belz said, according to a Copely News Service report. “You may very well have your day in court. Today is not the day.”
Edward Martin, an attorney for Americans United for Life, a group representing the pharmacists, says he’s disappointed by the ruling. “We feel like this is a setback, and I’m sorry for my clients who have to now go back to living with this rule that’s onerously put on them,” Martin told CNS. “A temporary restraining order is just one step, and we’re very disappointed. But we will continue to battle in court.” [LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report 26Sept05]
BUSH ADMIN ASKS SUPREME COURT TO REINSTATE FEDERAL ABORTION BAN IN APPEAL on “partial-birth” abortion that was struck down by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals because the law does not include an exception to protect a pregnant woman’s health (Savage, Los Angeles Times, 9/27).
Lincoln, NE-based U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf and federal judges in San Francisco and New York struck down the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (S 3) — signed by President Bush in 11/03 — because it lacks a health exception.
In November 2004 the Department of Justice, which has been defending the law in the trials, appealed Kopf’s ruling to the 8th Circuit Court in St. Louis, and a three-judge panel of the court upheld the decision in July.
The law bans “an abortion in which a physician deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living, unborn child’s body until either the entire baby’s head is outside the body of the mother, or any part of the baby’s trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother and only the head remains inside the womb, for the purpose of performing an overt act (usually the puncturing of the back of the child’s skull and removing the baby’s brains) that the person knows will kill the partially delivered infant.”
Abortion providers who violate the ban could face felony charges, up to two years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. In place of a health exception, the law includes a long “findings” section that documents medical evidence presented during congressional hearings that, according to supporters of the law, indicates that the procedures banned by the law are never medically necessary (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 7/11).
It will take justices on the court several months to decide whether to hear the case (Los Angeles Times, 9/27). Solicitor General Paul Clement wrote in the appeal — which was filed on 23Sept and released on 26Sept05 — that the case should be heard by the Supreme Court because it “involves the constitutionality of a significant act of Congress that has been invalidated and permanently enjoined by the lower courts” (Holland, AP/ABC News, 9/27).
The appeal also says that the lower courts should have deferred to Congress instead of medical experts who testified in the case. “Congress’ findings concerning the medical necessity of partial-birth abortion were entitled to substantial deference,” Clement told the court. Nebraska-based physician Leroy Carhart filed the original lawsuit saying the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is unconstitutional. Carhart in 1997 also sued to strike down a similar Nebraska law as unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court agreed in a 2000 decision (Los Angeles Times, 9/27).
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales officially filed the appeal to the Supreme Court, and his name was substituted for former Attorney General John Ashcroft as the formal party in the case now known as Gonzales v. Carhart (Bravin, Wall Street Journal, 9/27). [27Sept05, http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=32770]
OHIO ABORTION LAW REQUIRING PARENTAL CONSENT PUT ON HOLD AGAIN — An Ohio law scheduled to go into effect Thursday that would have required abortion businesses to obtain the consent of at least one parent before performing an abortion on a minor girl was put on hold again. A federal appeals court issued a temporary injunction so abortion advocates could appeal a district judge’s ruling saying the law is constitutional.
Abortion businesses have kept the law in state courts since the Ohio legislative approved it in 1998 and they’re now taking their case to federal courts. U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith found the law constitutional but the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the temporary stay late Thursday after hearing a request from the ACLU, which filed suit on behalf of a Cincinnati abortion business that said the new law would force it to close. State Solicitor Doug Cole told the Associated Press the appeals court’s ruling was simply to allow it more time to determine whether a stay is needed while the case proceeds. “The 6th Circuit Court’s order today is not a stay that will remain in place throughout the appeal. Instead, it’s a stopgap measure to give the court more time to read our response tomorrow and then decide whether to grant a stay for the length of the appeal,” Cole explained.
“We’re hopeful that when the court reads the brief we will file tomorrow, they will find it is not necessary or appropriate to extend this stay for the entire appeals process, so that our law could finally go into effect,” Cole said. [LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report 26Sept05]
MO JUDGE PUTS HOLD ON ABORTION LAW – Already blocked by a federal judge, Missouri’s new parental involvement for abortion law received a second setback as a state judge added his own temporary restraining order against the law. Jackson County Circuit Judge Charles Atwell said the law threatens irreparable harm to abortion-provider Planned Parenthood and its patients. The law allows parents to sue people who “intentionally cause, aid or assist” their minor daughters in getting abortions without their consent. It also requires doctors performing abortions to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The order also put on hold the portion affecting physicians’ clinical privileges. She said it could have forced a halt to abortions in southwest Missouri, because the doctor who provides the procedure at a Springfield clinic does not have local hospital privileges. [Reputable physicians always have hospital privileges.]
Missouri law has long required people younger than 18 to receive the consent of a parent, guardian or court before getting an abortion. Lawmakers said the new civil liability provisions are aimed at people who help teenagers get abortions in Illinois, which has no parental cons
[D. Lieb, AP, 26Sept05, Jefferson City, MO, http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/local/12747969.htm; 27Sept05, http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=32772]
SOUTH DAKOTA PANEL STUDIES WHETHER WOMEN GET ENOUGH ABORTION INFO — A legislative study panel put together by the state legislature is examining whether or not women are receiving enough information about abortion’s risks and alternative prior to have one. As expected, experts from both sides disagreed.
Vincent Rue of the Institute for Pregnancy Loss said women are often undergoing a tremendous amount of stress during pregnancy — particularly an unexpected pregnancy which has them considering abortion. Rue said a large percentage of women who wind up having abortions report later that they wish they had more information about the procedure and more time to reflect on it. Some later feel pressured or rushed into the abortion.
“If an abortion decision is not voluntary, consent is not possible,” Rue told the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion. The Associated Press reports that pro-abortion New York attorney Lynn Paltrow said many states have laws that require abortion facilities to provide women with certain information about problems associated with abortion and pregnancy help women receive. But not all do. [LifeNews.com Pro-Life News Report 26Sept05]