Rochester Area Right To Life
LifeLines is the newsletter of the Rochester Area Right to Life Committee, Inc., Education Fund. Older, complete issues in print are available in the Rochester, NY, office. These articles have been selected from the issue in print. An index for this issue and previous issues for the last couple of years is available.
Information and news you can use to protect and defend lives threatened by abortion and euthanasiaVolume 30 Issue 3 October/November 2001
Rochester Local News
The state Supreme Court was the site of a pro-life victory on September 21, 2001. The case focused on the office of Dr. Morris Wortman, built in 1999 at 2020 S. Clinton Avenue.
On January 16, 2001, Brighton Residents Against Violence (BRAVE, Inc.) filed a petition in which they claimed a bomb protective embankment built at the clinic is illegal. BRAVE also claimed that the public was defrauded its right to speak out re. environmental protections surrounding the facility since the purpose of the doctors office was not disclosed when the site plan was approved.
Wortmans practice had been on White Spruce Blvd in the town of Brighton. He was forced to relocate when his former landlord, Home Leasing, Inc, would not renew his lease. Norman Leenhouts, Home Leasing Inc. Chairman, said he refused to house a tenant who performed abortions.
The ruling was done by Justice William Polito. Mr. Politos personal long history of pro-life activities is well known. Brighton Town Attorney Paul LeClair, as reported in the 10/4/01 Catholic Courier, said the town, well aware of Politos personal beliefs, felt that he had acted without bias. "There is nothing he has done in this particular case that wasnt a fair application of the law, although we may decide to disagree with his application," LeClair said.
Justice Polito said that the Wortman office does not meet with the Town of Brightons planning and zoning guideline. The town had approved the offices opening in 1999. Polito noted that the original architectural plan had identified the Clinton Avenue facility as a "doctors office". Polito considered that misleading. Polito said in his ruling, "A clinic engaging in and soliciting large numbers of abortions is a new and different use from that approved [in 1999] as a "doctors office."
Justice Polito also ruled the concrete wall at the facility does not serve the purpose of a berm as defined by town code. Brightons code says a berm should be an aesthetic tool, i.e. a sound barrier near an expressway, or serve as a fence to prevent access to property. Polito called the grass-covered wall a "bomb protective barrier." In fact, Wortman acknowledged that he had the wall constructed in case his office became a bomb target.
Court ruling favors pro-life group
Polito ordered the office to cease operating as an abortion facility and to remove the concrete wall, aka berm. The berm, not in the original plan presented to the Town of Brighton, and the facility being an abortion facility, rather than a doctors office, also undisclosed to the Town of Brighton, are at the core of the Polito ruling.
Wortman appealed the ruling on October 9th by challenging Justice Politos objectivity. He contacted the Commission on Judicial Conduct which investigates allegations of judicial misconduct and admonishes, censures or removes from office those found to have engaged in unethical behavior. 85% of complaints are dismissed. Proceedings become public only if the commission takes disciplinary action. Polito had no comment.
Town Attorney LeClair said Brighton is still considering filing an appeal within the 30-day limit. Under the "stay effect" of Politos ruling, Wortman can continue his practice at its present location until the appeal is settled.
Carol Crossed, BRAVEs President, acknowledged expecting Wortman to take legal action in response to the decision in this case. Over the long range, Ms. Crossed said, she expects to have continuing involvement with Morris Wortman whether he remains in his present office or relocates. She and BRAVE will object to a Wortman clinic in Brighton, Crossed said, or wherever else he might choose to settle. Catholic Courier; 10/4/01; Democrat and Chronicle; 10/10/01
Vatican supports animal organ research
Concerned about the shortage of human organs for transplants, the Vatican (news - web sites) encourages research into the use of animal organs to save people's lives.
The 9/26/01 Vatican position paper urged researchers to use caution as they try to learn if animal-to-human transplants will become a reliable method of treatment. The paper was issued after consultations with surgeons, transplant experts, immunologists, geneticists, veterinarians and experts on anthropology, morality and ethics.
The Vatican said it prepared the document in response to those "who have expressed doubts about the ethics of animal-to-human transplants'' because of the uncertainty of success and the high cost of research, which could be spent on other prospective treatments.
"In the face of such doubts, it's opportune to recall that, even while taking into consideration the necessary cost-benefits equation, the huge use of health resources is justified by the urgent necessity to try to save the lives of so many patients who otherwise wouldn't have any chance at survival,'' the Vatican said. The document, prepared by the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, advised using the smallest possible number of patients in experiments. http://daily news.yahoo.com ./h/ap//20010926/ wl/vatican_transplants_1.html
Wisconsin RTL defends "Wrongful Birth" bill
On 9/27/01 legislation was introduced which would prohibit two particular types of discriminatory lawsuits that are based on the notion that a child born with a disability should have been aborted.
Wrongful birth lawsuits are civil actions brought by parents seeking damages for the birth of a child with disabilities. They claim they would have aborted the child had they known the child was disabled. Wrongful life lawsuits are civil actions brought by or on behalf of the child alleging that child's very existence is a legal wrong.
The bill, AB360, would create legal immunity for physicians from claims of wrongful life/birth. In these situations, the physician had not done anything to cause the child's disability and therefore, should not be sued.
Wisconsin Right to Life promoted this legislation "because wrongful life and wrongful birth lawsuits encourage discrimination against children with disabilities," said Susan Armacost of Wisconsin RTL. "These lawsuits are based on the absurd notion that a human life, if disabled, is a legal wrong and the child would be better off if he or she had never been born. These lawsuits have no place in Wisconsin's legal system."
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin claimed that under AB360, parents would be "denied the right to civil action if a medical professional negligently or willfully fails to inform them about prenatal diagnostic tests and results."
Armacost responded, "That is ridiculous. This legislation does not affect the array of other civil remedies available to parents if a physician acts in a negligent or willful manner that causes harm to either mother or child. It prohibits only those lawsuits that are based on the notion that a child with a disability should never have been born. If our society is serious about eliminating discrimination against individuals with disabilities, our legal system should not be promoting these offensive lawsuits that encourage societal disdain for those with disabilities."
Armacost continued: "Planned Parenthood, the state's largest abortion provider, has never seen an abortion it wouldn't defend, including late-term partial-birth abortion. And now, they are promoting lawsuits based on the notion that destroying a baby with a disability by abortion is preferable to allowing that baby to be born. The best that can be said about their abhorrent philosophy is they are consistent ."
Wisconsin Right to Life, 10625 W North Avenue, Suite LL, Milwaukee, WI 53226, (414) 778-5780
November 6th elections
In even numbered calendar years, elections are done for state and federal offices. Every 2 years, all U.S. Congressional Representatives seats are filled as well as those of the total NY State Assembly and Senate. Every 4 years a U.S. President is elected. U.S. Senate terms are for 6 years so in an even-numbered year one of our two U.S. Senate seats may need to be filled. Odd-numbered 2001 has no state or federal elections November 6, 2001.
There will be "local" elections on November 6, 2001.
|*County Legislature and elected county positions, e.g. Sheriff, Clerk,
*Judicial positions in various courts and
*Town/city offices, e.g. Supervisor, Town Council
|These are county, city and town elections|
The Rochester Area Right to Life Committee, Inc.s Political Action Committee (PAC) can endorse candidates for elective offices. They are running as members of various political parties. These endorsements are from the RARTL PAC, not the Right to Life Party of NY State.
- RARTL PAC is unable to screen candidates for other counties, other county offices, and city/town offices and thus has no endorsements for any of these races.
- In races with no endorsements, voters should speak directly with candidates to assess their position on life issues
ROCHESTER AREA RIGHT TO LIFE COMMITTEE, INC. Political Action Committee (PAC)
Endorsesthe following candidates for election to the Monroe County Legislature (MC)
|1st Dist: Ogden: 3, 5, 7, 8,
12, 16; Sweden: 1, 3, 4, 7; Parma 1 - 15
*PETER.N. MCCANN (R)
|8th Dist Webster: 1 5; 9, 10,
13, 14, 17, 19, 20, 23 25, 27 34, 36, 38, 40, 41
*SEAN T. HANNA (R-C-F)
|15th Dist Brighton: 3, 8, 16, 29
Penfield: 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 17, 22,26, 33, 34; Webster: 6-8; 11, 12, 15,16, 18,21, 22, 26,
*RAYMOND SANTIROCCO (R)
|22nd Dist 22nd City LD: 1 - 26
|2nd Dist Clarkson: 1 5; Hamlin:
1 10; Sweden: 2, 5, 6, 8 - 12
|9th Dist Penfield: 1 4, 6, 7,
10, 11, 14 16, 18 21, 23 25, 27 32, 35 - 39
*GEORGE WIEDEMER (R-C-F)
|16th Dist Irondequoit 1, 3, 4, 7-10;
14-16; 18 20, 22, 25, 27, 28, 30, .33; 34, 40, 42, 44, 46, 49, 51, 53-57, 59, 60, 62, 63,
|23rd Dist 23rd City LD: 1 27;
Brighton: 7, 11, 18, 24, 34
|3rd Dist: Chili 1, 4, 6 14, 16 -
*TRACY L. LOGEL (R-C)
|10th Dist East Rochester: 1 5;
Pittsford: 1 9; 11 16; 18 20; 23, 25, 27 30; 32
|17th Dist Irondequoit: 2, 5, 11-13; 17,
19, 21, 23-24, 26, 29, 32, 35-39, 41, 43, 45, 47-48, 50, 52, 54-56, 58, 65-67; 69
|24th Dist 24th
City :LD: 1 19; Brighton: 2, 9, 14, 20, 25, 26, 35, 44; Henrietta: 11,16, 23-24; 34
|4th Dist Chili: 5 15; Gates 1-8;
10 12, 14, 15, 18 28, 30 32, 34, 35
*MARK W. ASSINI (R-C)
|11th Dist East Roch. 6, 7; Perinton
4-7; 9-12; 14, 19, 24, 25, 30, 31, 36- 38, 42, 43, 47, 48, 50, 54, 56
*PIETER W. SMEENK (R-C)
|18th Dist Perinton: 1-3; 8, 12-13;
15-18; 20-23; 26-29; 32-33; 45, 40-41; 44-46; 49, 51-53,55; Pittsford: 21
*A MICHAEL HANNA (R-C-F)
|25th Dist 25th City LD: 1 - 21
|5th Dist. Greece: 4, 13, 15,28, 36, 42,
45, 49,50, 53, 55, 56, 60, 62, 64, 72, 75, 80, 85, 86, 88, 91, 95 97, 101, 104, 105
*MARK J. CASETTI (R)
|12th Dist Mendon: 1-9; Pittsford: 10,
17, 22, 24, 26, 31, 33;
Rush: 1-4; Wheatland: 1-5
*KARLA F. BOYCE (R-C)
|19th Dist Gates: 3, 14, 17, 18, 24, 27,
29, 32-33, 37, 39, 51-52; 57, 59, 61, 65-69; 73, 77, 81, 83, 87, 92, 94, 100
*WILLIAM D. REILICH (R-C)
|26th Dist 26th City LD: 1-17; Gates:
9.13. 16. 17. 29. 33; Greece: 93; Irondequoit: 6. 31. 64
|6th Dist 6TH City LD: 1 6;
Greece: 5 12, 19 23, 25, 26, 30, 31, 40, 41, 46 48, 63, 78
*FREDERICK AMATO (DCWOR)
|13th Dist Henrietta 1, 2, 6 10;
12 15; 17 22; 25 - 33
|20th Dist Chili: 2-3; Henrietta: 3;
Ogden: 1, 2, 4, 6-9; 13-15; 17-20; Riga: 1-6
*DENNIS PELLETIER (R-C-F)
|27th Dist 27th City LD: 1 - 29
|7th Dist 7th City LD:1 3;
Greece: 1, 2, 16, 34, 35, 38, 43, 44, 54, 58, 70, 71, 74, 76, 79, 82, 84, 89, 90, 98, 99,
102, 103, 106
*DOUGLAS B. DOBSON (R-C)
|14th Dist Brighton: 1, 4 6, 10,
12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21 23; 27, 28, 30 33; 36 46; Henrietta: 4, 5
|21st Dist 21st City LD: 1-28
|28th Dist 28th City LD: 1 - 23
*JAMES ROOSE (R-C)
|* = Incumbent
NCE No Candidate Endorsed
|R = Republican
D = Democrat
C = Conservative
|F = Freedom
I = Independence
WOR = Working Families
|29th Dist 29th City LD: 1 - 26
LUIS RIVERA (R)
Rochester Area Right to Life Committee, Inc. Political Action Committee
(PAC), was formed to endorse
credible, major party, pro-life candidates.
|Candidates shown above are endorsed because they :
**support protection of innocent human life from conception until natural death
**as shown on responses to the RARTL PAC questionnaire, (questions are below), interviews and
**positive, pro-life actions on the issues of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia as public servants and private citizens.
Election Day: Tuesday, November 6, 2001
Authorized and paid by the Rochester Area Right to Life Committee, Inc. PAC; 675 Ling Road; Rochester, New York 14612; not authorized by any candidate. Chairperson: Joanne Albert: 546-1555 Paid Political Ad
OUR ENDORSEMENT PROCESS
RARTL - PAC QUESTIONS
Following are the questions submitted to candidates:
|1. Do you support the concept that a person has the right to life to life
from the moment of conception to the point of natural death?
2. Would you vote for proposed legislation that would prevent abortions other than to save the life of the mother?
3. Would you vote to require parental notification before abortions are performed on minors?
4. Would you vote to prevent the use of tax funds for abortion other than to save the life of the mother?
5. Would you vote to prevent the use of tissue and organs from deliberately aborted children in transplants or medical experiments?
6. Would you oppose legislation that would allow one to hasten or aid death by:
(a) Withholding ordinary life sustaining treatment, e.g. food or water
(b) Active administration of drugs known to cause death
(c) Doctor assisted suicide?
UN ban on human cloning sought
Citing an imminent threat to the "entire human family," France and Germany lead a European Union (EU) effort to create an international convention to ban reproductive cloning. The two countries proposed this "urgent initiative" in response to reports European and American scientists are now cloning humans. A French Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said "given the speed of such developments," nations must "take necessary measures to protect ourselves from a slippery slope that would have unpredictable consequences for humanity."
Cloning involves inserting the nucleus of a cell from one of a body's organs/tissues into an unfertilized egg that has had its own nucleus removed. The result is creation of a human embryo with the same genetic code as another human being.
If the embryo is intended for implantation in a womb, then live birth, it is considered
a reproductive clone.
If created only for research, i.e. stem cell extraction causing its death, it is considered a therapeutic clone.
This EU initiative is silent about therapeutic cloning. Germany bans therapeutic cloning because it "is not as black and white" within the international community. Its inclusion would "bog down negotiations."
Because its member states do not agree, the EU has no official position on therapeutic cloning. In December 2000, the British House of Commons backed new government rules allowing for therapeutic cloning. Other EU countries condemned the decision. A German Parliament member likened therapeutic cloning to "cannibalism" and called for EU sanctions against Britain. Another German politician warned, "We don't want to repeat the dreadful genetic experiments made by the Nazi Regime." There have also been charges that Britain is attempting to bolster its own biotechnology industry at the expense of German industry, since Germany bans all research that might destroy human embryos.
The European Parliament passed a resolution asserting there was no moral distinction between therapeutic and reproductive cloning, and charged that Britain was guilty of a "linguistic slight of hand" in its efforts to justify therapeutic cloning.
The Franco-German action on reproductive cloning may push the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly to begin issue debate in November. A binding worldwide agreement against reproductive cloning within three years is expected. Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute; September 27, 2001
|"The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." Chinese proverb||" the sanctity of human life had the terrorists believed in that sanctity we would not all be mourning the tragic losses that took place that day." Cardinal Bernard Law; Boston Globe; 10/15/01|
Abortion group targets vulnerable terror victims
Americans can be proud of charitable organizations responses to the terrorist attacks. Dozens, e.g. the American Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, Salvation Army provided donated blood, food, clothing, shelter and more.
But other groups responded by advancing their own agendas, e.g. Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) with clinics in Brooklyn, Bronx and Manhattan. It announced "free reproductive health care for women affected by the World Trade Center disaster." "Women in need due to tragic events of last week," said its press statement, can receive free of cost "PPNYC services, including GYN care, birth control, emergency contraception, STD/ HIV testing and counseling " The press release did not refer to free abortions. Population Research Institute contacted PPNYC; they said any woman who has been displaced by the blast "can come in for a free termination." PRI Weekly Briefing 28 September 2001, Steve Mosher Vol. 3/ No. 24
Canadian blames pro-lifers for terrorist attacks
In a 9/19/01 Canadian National Post "Financial Post" editorial Terrance Corcoran wrote that a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation writer blamed the terrorist attacks in New York on "anti-abortionists." He wrote:
"Another adventure into the ideological absurd was a CBC Radio interview with a writer who disliked the idea that Islamic terrorists were being singled out as likely perpetrators. He offered the conclusion that the destruction of the World Trade Center could have been the work of American right-wing extremists. Among the possibilities U.S. anti-abortion activists." email@example.com
Oops. We received a Patron donation from Patricia and Fred Amato but failed to include it in the Patron listing. We also received donations after the booklet was printed, i.e. Gary Passero: Patron level and a Guardian level from Crossbridge Community Church in East Rochester. We are grateful.
Leo Holmsten Human Life Award Presentation & Banquet
September 25, 2001 was the date of the fifth LHHL Award presentation. The event was established to recognize the pro-life efforts of local individuals who, as Dr. Leo Holmsten did:
- Work to build respect for the sanctity of innocent, human life
- Use skills, training and talents in available opportunities
- Honor the Judeo-Christian ethic.
Previous awards have gone to Leo Holmsten, M.D., in 1997 and in following years, David C. Hoselton, Jeanne D. Sweeney, R.N. & Thomas Sweeney, M.D. and Rev. James E. Hewes.
Award recipients are determined by the vote of previous recipients, the event sponsor, i.e. Rochester Area Right to Life Committee Inc. Education Fund and co-sponsors, i.e. Birthright of Rochester, Crisis Pregnancy Services of Rochester, Feminists for Life of New York, Pro-life Planning Committee, Greater Rochester Association of Evangelicals (GRAE), Problem Pregnancy Help Center, Roberts Wesleyan College, Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, Project Rachel, St. Luke Medical Association, and St. Thomas More Lawyers Guild.
|The 2001 award was presented to Assemblyman Joseph E. Robach who represents the people of the 134th New York State Assembly District. He has also been an Assembly leader in representation of unborn children, their mothers and families. As a Democrat, he is in the majority party in the Assembly. Being pro-life, in the pro-abortion Assembly, puts him in the minority. This means that the role of pro-life leader has been challenging. Nevertheless, Assemblyman Robach has persisted in sponsoring bills, e.g. that parents be notified when an unmarried minor daughter seeks an abortion; that Medicaid money, which are New York state tax dollars, be budgeted for pro-life activities rather than paying for abortion-on-demand, that women be informed about abortions health effects on them and receive information about the developmental stage of the child.||
Links to pictures:
The dinner scene
(this newsletter is already so big that
Following an Invocation led by Pastor James Crowley and singing of God Bless America, a delicious dinner was served in a Crowne Plaza of Rochester Ballroom. Emcee Dr. Peter McCown convened the program and introduced Rev. Thomas Wheeland, Pastor of Holy Cross Church, Vilma Goetting, Aquinas Institute Principal, and William Selke of Greece Festival of Youth who spoke about Joseph Robach, the Person.
The Research Trio and Guitarist & Soloist Joanne Hartman provided music through the reception and program.
Joseph Robach the Legislator was described and honored by a Monroe County Proclamation, presented by Monroe County Legislators Fred Amato, Tracy Logel and George Wiedemer. A U.S. Congressional Proclamation from Honorable John LaFalce was presented by his District Representative, Hannelore Heyen. Assemblyman Robachs legislative work was described by Hon. Richard Keane, former Assembly colleague of both Joseph and his father, Roger Robach.
The LHHL award was then presented by the 2000 LHHL award recipient, Rev. James Hewes. Assemblyman Robach reaffirmed his pro-life commitment as he graciously accepted the award.
LHHL Chairwoman, Geraldine Oftedahl, presented an inscribed lead glass vase to Terri Robach, mother of Joseph and wife of the Honorable Roger J. Robach. On September 29, 1991, Assemblyman Roger J. Robach, always a strong pro-life leader in the New York State Assembly, died while holding the Assembly position. As no public recognition had been given Assemblyman Roger Robachs pro-life work during his lifetime, he was recognized posthumously.
Rev. Dennis Bonsignore led the Benediction. The evening ended with all singing Amazing Grace
Abortion pill legal, unused; doctors, women stay with surgery
On 9/28/00, the Food & Drug Administration approved mifepristone, aka RU-486, the abortion drug, for use in the U. S. Kay Scott, Head of Georgia Planned Parenthood, expected an evolution, which didnt happen. By 9/28/01 Scott was disappointed that the drug isn't offered by as many physicians and clinics as she expected.
In Georgia, just Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah and Columbus have abortion facilities. Only Atlanta and Augusta now have RU-486 providers. Exact numbers of RU-486 abortions won't be available for several years. Both advocates and opponents admit the drug's use in its first year has been less frequent than expected in Georgia and nationwide. "There were arguments it was going to change the landscape of abortion, and we haven't seen it,'' said Laura Echevarria, Director of Media Relations: National Right to Life Committee.
Abortion access has diminished in Georgia and U.S. for years. Recent statistics show the number of abortion providers nationwide has declined 14%, i.e. 2,380 in 1992; 2,042 in 1996. More than 85% of U.S. counties, home to 32% of all 15 to 44-year-old women, had no abortion provider in 1996, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute.
A lack of interest
Several Georgia abortion providers and health care officials reported no plans to add "medical" abortion to their services in the near future. Georgia University health clinics, only providing abortion information, reported a lack of student interest in RU-486. Other schools reported a similar student disinterest.
A longer process
Many doctors continue to affirm their decision not to offer the drug. "Physicians at these clinics said they won't use RU-486. They don't want to deal with the multi- visit process the drug requires. Women using RU-486 must make at least 3 visits to a physician/clinic. During the first two visits, theyll receive RU-486 and misoprostol, the companion drug, which expels the unborn child from the body. In two weeks the women return for a follow-up visit to ensure the abortion is complete.
Abortion advocates and opponents say other issues add to hesitancy to offer RU-486, e.g. the drug's potential side effects, i.e. heavy bleeding for 1 to 2 % of the women. Also, "medical" abortions cost more than surgical abortions. The Alan Guttmacher Institute reported average cost of a medical abortion at $401; a surgical abortion at $355. RU-486 proponents claim its still less well known.
A nurse manager said "Surgery is easier. Medical abortion is not for everybody. It's more invasive, uncomfortable and longer. A surgical abortion is performed in minutes. RU-486 abortions can take days to complete.
Pro-abortionists remain optimistic about RU-486s future. "Women are pretty savvy and want to know more about their options,'' said a Planned Parenthood vice-president. Both Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation have undertaken massive RU-486 promotional campaigns using the new "early option pill'' name. The campaign included ads in 14 national publications, e.g. People, Essence, Vanity Fair, Latina, Cosmopolitan."
Scott remains optimistic RU-486 will be widely accepted. The Atlanta Women's Medical Center confirmed it will start using RU-486 later this year. "It's just another option," said Susan Collier, an RN at the center. "The clinic staff isn't against it, but nobody's jumping up and down, saying 'Yippee, we're using it.' " Brian Basinger Times-Union staff writer; Saturday, September 22, 2001
Chinese response to RU-486
China, very pro-abortion, tightened control on RU-486, aka mifepristone. The sale of the drug at pharmacies has been banned. The government reportedly feared the drug was being sold illegally and being taken without medical supervision. Agence France Press English; 11/Oct/2001
Surprise legal ruling could affect abortion debate
"We hold, as a matter of law, that a physician who has a doctor-patient relationship with a pregnant woman who intends to carry her fetus to term and deliver a healthy baby also has a doctor-patient relationship with the fetus," said the Sept. 21, 7-0 decision of the Kansas Supreme Court.
Pro-life people are studying this decisions potential for use in challenging late-term abortions. The ruling, in an otherwise conventional medical-malpractice case, called the issue one of "first impression," meaning it was the first time any top state court decided it.
In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Pennsylvania law requiring physicians to "exercise the same care to preserve the fetus's life and health as would be required in the case of a fetus intended to be born alive." That 6-3 ruling said Pennsylvania's statute was too ambiguous in relying on "sufficient reason to believe that the fetus may be viable." In 2001, advances in medical technology over those decades have sharpened the ability to make an objective prognosis.
National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) general counsel, Jim Bopp, was skeptical about broad application beyond Kansas, because abortion is a "hyperprotected" right. "This decision just bears generally on the oddity of abortion law, and how out of step abortion law is with medical law. What is strange is abortion law, which treats the unborn as if it's not a real person," Attorney Bopp said.
Washington Times; October 8, 2001
The terrorist attacks changed the Congressional agenda for at least the rest of the year. Congress is concentrating on national security issues and economic disruptions resulting from the attacks. They are also working to pass 13 appropriations (budget) bills needed to fund federal agencies for FY 2002, which begins on October 1.Many lawmakers hope to adjourn as soon as the appropriations process is competed. They have intentionally avoided open conflicts on contentious issues. Sen. Dorgan (D-ND) summarized the mood: "All those issues (contentious) for the moment are suspended while the spotlight shines on this emergency and catastrophe.
BILLS OF PRO-LIFE INTEREST as of 10/22/01
Human Cloning Ban: H.R. 2505
The ban passed in the House on 7/31 and was being pushed for a vote as the "Brownback" bill in the Senate. 9/11 events have made the Senate reluctant to take up anything new in this year as they deal with the immediate crises. Senate action on this bill is unlikely before 2002.
Unborn Victim of Violence Act: H.R. 503
Approved by the House on 4/26; Senate action on this bill unlikely before 2002.
Campaign Finance Reform
NRLC remains opposed to so-called "campaign finance reform " bills that would restrict the right of citizen groups to communicate with the public about the actions of federal politicians and about actions needed to affect upcoming congressional votes. The chief threat was the McCain-Feingold bill (S.27) which passed in the Senate in April. The House counterpart, Shay-Meehan (H.R. 2356) had not seen action. Some House members were working to get a majority of members to sign a "discharge petition". With 218 signatures, a floor vote would be required. By 9/11, they had 209 signatures, but no more since the attacks.
Democratic leaders seem unlikely to push debate on this controversial and partisan issue in the current circumstances. Even Senator John McCain (R-Az) said on 9/26: "I cant worry about it right now. I havent thought about it since September 11th."
Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (H.R. 2175, S 1050)
Both the Senate and House versions of this bill were attached to "patients bill of rights" bills (regulating HMOs). If and when lawmakers work out the differences between the two versions of the bill, the final bill should contain the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.
Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ESCR)
In August, President Bush announced he would authorize federal funding of research on certain, already-existing embryonic stem cell lines. He also said he would veto any bill to fund research that would require the destruction of human embryos. This policy was criticized as too restrictive by some Democratic leaders and some Republicans.
As of 10/11/01, federally funded but limited stem cell research would be explicitly allowed for the first time. President Bush would have discretion over how to do it, under a bill approved on 10/10/01 by a Senate subcommittee. The language, written by pro-ESCR Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), would let Bush follow through on his proposal to not allow federal funding for any new embryonic stem cell research. However, it would also permit him to allow funding he said he would not provide for embryonic stem cell research where cells are taken from human embryos as long as the embryos used for the research would otherwise be destroyed and permission for their use has been granted by the people whose fertility treatments created them.
The measure's fate seemed uncertain as White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush would stand by his earlier decision on stem cell research policy. McClellan said the White House prefers a stricter House version of the measure, which makes no changes in current law.
Even before last month's terrorist attacks put the stem cell issue onto Washington's back burners, neither side sensed that it had the votes to force changes in Bush's policy. Associated Press; 10/10/01; reported on Pro-Life Infonet: 10/11/01
CONGRESSIONAL APPROPRIATIONS BILLS
Appropriations, i.e. funding, bills often include pro-life sought restrictions; these bills last for just one year. On such bills for fiscal year 2001-02, the House Appropriations Committee had the same pro-life provisions previously carried on these bills, e.g. the Hyde Amendment on the Health and Human Services Budget bill. As of 10/8/01, the Senate had removed long standing pro-life provisions from 2 of the new budget bills:
- Prohibition of abortion funding by the Bureau of Prisons was approved by the House on 7/17/01 but deleted in the Senate.
- Abortion coverage had been prohibited in federal employees health plans covering; it was also deleted in the Senate.
Four other appropriation bills that traditionally contain pro-life provisions await Senate action as of 10/11/01. Some of these provisions may be weakened or removed. National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and others on the pro-life side will fight for retention of the traditional pro-life provisions in the final versions of these bills which will be negotiated in House-Senate conference committees in the coming weeks. National Right to Life Committee Congressional Update; 10/11/01; Ertelt@prolifeinfo.org
Abortion is back on agenda in Ireland
On 10/2/01 Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of predominantly Roman Catholic Ireland reopened divisive arguments, i.e. when, if ever, doctors should be allowed to perform abortions.
After a decade of political debate and delay, Ahern published the Human Life and Pregnancy Bill. If approved, the measure would allow doctors to terminate pregnancies when women's lives are at risk. Ahern said the bill was designed to reconcile conflicting demands presented by Ireland's constitution, barring all abortions, and a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, saying an abortion should be permitted in cases when a woman might otherwise die.
Ahern expressed confidence he would win cross-party support from lawmakers by December. But before it could become law, the measure would need majority support in a public referendum, probably next spring. The legislation must go to a public vote because it proposes a change to the constitution. The proposed law would allow doctors to do abortions if the woman's life was considered at risk, except in instances of threatened suicide.
The legislation also would legalize the so-called morning-after pill, taken within 72 hours of "unprotected sex" to prevent pregnancy. Women seeking the pills now have to order them from Northern Ireland or Britain
The bill also proposed creating a government-financed crisis pregnancy agency, which Ahern said, would offer "caring, practical intervention" in hopes of reducing the number of women - now estimated at 6,500 - who travel each year to Britain for abortions.
Pro-life activists lightly applauded Ahern's bill. "We welcome the fact there will be a referendum, and that there are very definite pro-life overtones in the whole package," they said.
Those seeking a more liberal law were disappointed. An Abortion Reform, spokeswoman said: "It's not going to offer the women who travel to Britain any real option. Women are perfectly capable of making the decision whether to have a child, and they should be facilitated in their own country.
The Irish Family Planning Association said it will call for a "No" vote in the referendum and attacked the Government for working closely with the pro-life movement. IFPAs Tony O'Brien said the government had not consulted with pro-choice groups about setting up the crisis pregnancy agency. He said the Government had turned its back on the 7,000 or so Irish women who travel to England for abortions each year. The proposed referendum will criminalize the vulnerable and further cases are likely to arise, he said. The IFPA called on all voters to reject the referendum. Shawn Pogatchnik ASSOCIATED PRESS;Wednesday, October 3, 2001; Prolife Infonet; 10/4/01 & http://www.unison. ie/stories.php 3?ca=9&si=5966& breakingnews=112:13 Friday October 5th 2001
Abortion may be legalized in Kenya
Abortion could become legal in Kenya if the recommendations of Dr Mboya Okeyos study are accepted They urge the eventual repeal of the anti-abortion laws.
The proposal in a Government report, Kenya Family Health Programme, argued that social and medical evidence outweighs the "perceived moral and legal need for retaining the (anti-abortion) law in our books".
The proposal has been made "in accordance with international trends". It is also presented to end unwanted pregnancies and the claimed tendency, especially among schoolgirls, to seek back street abortionists.
This mirrors the rationalizations given for legalizing abortion in the U.S. in the early 70s. The proposal has attracted criticism from religious groups and abortion opponents supporting the sanctity of life. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, an international pro-life group, implored Kenya not to accept abortion "under the guise of social and medical excuses." It could change the landscape of health care in Kenya. Now, abortion-on-demand exists virtually nowhere in Africa. The Nation (Nairobi) October 4 & 9, 2001 Posted to web October 3 & 10, 2001
|"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed but not in despair." Second Corinthians 4:8||"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds." --Francis Bacon|
New view on abortion in Poland
On 9/27/01 the left-wing alliance that recently won Poland's general election announced plans to ease the country's tough antiabortion law.
"We believe abortions should be allowed when the woman faces hardship," Marek Pol told a news conference Pol leads the small Labor Union (UP) party, which is allied to the victorious ex-communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). He said the bill would be a second priority at European Union membership talks.
Poland's antiabortion law, implemented in 1997 by the outgoing Solidarity government, allows abortion only in cases of irreparable damage to the fetus, serious danger to the woman's health, or when pregnancy results from rape. Doctors who perform illegal abortions face prison terms of up to two years.
The 1997 legislation was inspired by the Roman Catholic Church, to which more than 90 % of Poles at least nominally belong. The Pope repeatedly has said during trips to his native land that the church regards abortion as murder. Women's-rights groups have argued that the law has forced many women to seek abortions abroad or to use unsafe methods.
A vote on abortion could be close in Parliament. The leftist SLD-UP coalition is about 10 seats short of a majority. Other parties generally oppose abortion on demand. http://inq.philly.com/content/inquirer/2001/09/27/national/POLAND27.htm
New Pennsylvania Governor is pro-life
With pro-abortion Gov. Tom Ridge vacating his office to take a new post in the federal government October 5th, Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker (R) will become Pennsylvanias governor. Mr. Schweiker is pro-life.
Following are some excerpts from a 1999 speech Schweiker gave at the banquet for Real Alternatives, a Pennsylvania program providing life-affirming alternatives to abortion for women in need.
"You're work is powerful--never doubt it. Here we're on the front lines of the most successful alternatives model in the nation. Based on our success, Congress is now looking to create a similar initiative at the federal level, a national model for other states. ..."
"Parents are upset with the pregnancy--their home is no longer hers. Father of her child doesn't want to be a father TO the child. Boyfriend wants to stay just a boy friend. Money's hard to come by. She has trouble providing for herself, so how will she provide for her baby?
Mr. Schweiker gave many examples of common problems and frequent, positive responses given to women working in Pennsylvanias Project WIN. "The overriding goal is to offer hope for their future. This is the reward and virtue of the work you do. This is the personal return on our investment. This is why Pennsylvania is a national leader in nurturing children, families, and better communities," he concluded.
What a fine example from Pennsylvania for the Governor in neighboring New York State.
Society Disregards Abortion's Aftermath
RB, a student, writing for his college newspaper, shared the following insights very well. He had, earlier, written about the debate over the morality of abortion centering on the humanity of the fetus, and that many justifications for abortion fail. He opined that the main question needing to be answered is: "Is the unborn a human being?
If the unborn is a human being, most of the abortion justifications are rabbit trails. If it's not, then abortion is morally benign, he wrote. A student responded to the earlier article, saying the debate over abortion is for women only, since only they get pregnant. As a male, he felt he had no say.
RB responded: "It's men that have penises, not arguments. It does no good to attack my genitalia instead of my arguments. Many women use the same arguments I do. His argument loses the little punch it had when women put forth the same arguments, so gender is irrelevant." Abortion is a human issue, not just a woman's issue, RB asserted. He noted the importance of another side of the issue, i.e. emotional, but directed his column to focusing on "What happens when abortion becomes a reality? "
While some women don't experience any complications after an abortion, many are plagued by serious emotional problems. RB cited studies reporting that a very high percentage of women who have abortions feel guilt. The percentages ranged from 70 to 92%, depending on the study. RB acknowledged the 92% figure might be a bit high, even the 70% statistic might be high as well. RB concluded that even if the percentage were 50, the fact remains that a high number of women suffer emotionally following an abortion.
Some women go into a self-destruct mode, doing things such as getting pregnant again to try to "compensate" for the abortion of her previous child, having an affair, becoming depressed or punishing themselves. Denying negative feelings about the abortion, obsession about the date when the baby would have been born and anxiety are common responses to emotional pain.
Others display deep anger toward their doctors, abortion counselors, parents, boyfriends or husband who were involved in the abortion decision. Some women react harshly to things like the sounds of other babies crying. These and other psychological effects of abortion have garnered the name "Post Abortion Syndrome." Some consider that a bona fide psychological malady." There are many other ways the guilt can be expressed soon or years after the abortion. Grieving is a natural and appropriate response following the loss of a child, born or unborn, yet there is a trend in this society to deny that.
Society tells women who have aborted their babies that there is nothing to grieve about. That is an unrealistic message. If the woman isn't allowed to express her grief normally or if she denies the need to grieve, it will find unhealthy outlets
There can also be problems for men who are either willing participants in the decision or are totally unaware of the abortion. RB referred to Author Sue Bohlins good point, "Abortion is not an eraser to rub out a mistake or in convenience. It has more than one victim."
Oftentimes women, as well as men, are hurt along with the unborn, RB said. Abortion is far from a safe and easy procedure. "We as a society need to acknowledge the pain that abortion often causes, not deny it, and we need to provide a loving atmosphere that allows for it to be dealt with properly."
RB concluded the article with a plea to women contemplating abortion to consider the other options, all of which are better than killing her baby. Ohio State U. Lantern; April 27, 2001
Court in Alaska rules against assisted suicide
Alaskans have no constitutional right to assisted suicide, despite a constitution and courts that strongly support individual liberty and personal privacy, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled on 9/21/01. In a unanimous decision written by Justice Alex Bryner, the court upheld state law that helping someone kill them self is manslaughter. Killing yourself unassisted is not against state law.
In its decision, the court cited the state's long history of opposition to assisted suicide and the danger that vulnerable Alaskans who are depressed or disabled might be pressured into dying when they don't really want to. Friday's decision ended a long, emotional case.
The court concluded that in an imperfect society the right of the vulnerable to be free from deadly coercion trumps the right of the terminally ill to have help dying.
Quoting from a New York task force report that rejected assisted suicide in that state, Bryner wrote,
"Public policy considerations of assisted suicide must include a recognition that our society is one that ... frequently judges others on the basis of physical and mental disabilities, race, ethnicity, social standing, and other factors unacceptable in life-valuing decision-making."
Kevin Sampson and Janice Kastella, both terminally ill, filed suit in 1998 that their doctors be declared exempt from the manslaughter law and be allowed to legally help them die. Sampson, a state auditor, had AIDS, and Kastella, a neurologist, had cancer. Both have since died.
Compassion in Dying, a national group that promotes assisted-suicide laws, initiated the suit. Group leaders picked Alaska because its constitution strongly endorses individual rights.
Anchorage attorney Robert Wagstaff, who with Compassion in Dying continued the fight as a class action after Sampson and Kastella died, said he was disappointed at the decision but not necessarily surprised. "We recognized that it's a long-term issue of civil rights, and like the civil rights movement, it's not one case or one battle. There are often setbacks, but you keep going forward." Because the case dealt with state law only, it cannot be appealed to the federal courts.
Wagstaff argued that a very narrow, regulated exception could safely be carved in the law that would allow physicians to assist adult, mentally competent, terminally ill people near death to end their lives with dignity. The state, several medical organizations and the Alaska Catholic Conference entered the case opposing the exception. The Alaska Civil Liberties Union and Compassion in Dying supported Sampson and Kastella. Those in favor of allowing doctor-assisted suicide said it is like the right to have an abortion or the right to dress as one chooses, both of which have been upheld by the court.
Judge Bryner disagreed. The manslaughter law does not restrict a person's individual right to end his own life, he ruled. It only regulates the conduct of others wishing to assist him. The state successfully argued, "The terminally ill are a class of persons who need protection from family, social, and economic pressures, and who are often particularly vulnerable to such pressures because of chronic pain, depression, and effects of medication,"
Assistant attorney general Eric Johnson, representing Alaska, said this was his major concern. An assisted suicide law would not only be used for "those few heart-breaking cases we can all sympathize with," he said. "It's not just going to be used for the person you are confident has a nice, completely supportive family. It could be used by a family member who wants a person out of the way because they want their money. ... We don't want disadvantaged people to have coercion or pressure of any kind."
Barbara Coombs Lee, Compassion in Dying national president said those kinds of abuses have not surfaced in Oregon, the only state that has legalized assisted suicide. There's a substantial body of evidence that vulnerable patients are not put at risk. Yet the Alaska court rested its decision on a "hypothetical" threat, she said. Kent Autor, Alaska chapter Compassion in Dying president said doctors should be legally able to assist terminally ill adults who choose to hasten their deaths. "They should not have to use violent means like a gun or a knife," he said.
Attorney Bob Flint, arguing against assisted suicide for the Catholic Conference, said what the dying really need is good medical care to ease their suffering and "the support and companionship of their neighbors, family and friends The Catholic Church has been in the compasssionate dying business for 2,000 years people are no strangers to suffering. But there are principles that don't allow us to kill people. It's that simple. We don't doubt the motives of the other side. We just disagree with them."
Friday's ruling does not mean that laws allowing doctor-assisted suicide would be unconstitutional if passed. It's just not an inherent or constitutional right, the court ruled. "We recognize that Sampson and (Kastella) have raised close and difficult issues," Bryner wrote. "But these issues flow quickly away from questions of the law and lapse seamlessly into questions of morality, medical ethics, and contemporary social norms. Because the controversy surrounding physician-assisted suicide is so firmly rooted in questions of social policy, rather than constitutional tradition, it is a quintessentially legislative matter." Sheila Toomey And Ann Potempa Anchorage Daily News September 22, 2001); firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Another successful health fair for RARTL
On October 4th, RARTL participated in the 12th Annual Family Health Fitness Fair with over 100 other agencies. RARTL provided abundant information and resources about fetal development, abortion and partial-birth abortion. Most left with either a precious feet pin or RARTL pen. Anita Camardo, Pat Dawes, Anne LeBlanc, and Marie Vasile, worked with RARTL Executive Director Pat Amato in an outstanding education and advocacy effort for the sanctity of life of innocent, human life.
May Your Holidays and Holy Days Be Filled with Blessings
Best wishes for a Thanksgiving holiday filled with family, food, and prayers of gratitude to our Creator for all He has given us.
Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas will be resonating over the coming weeks. In this time of giving, let us offer our prayers of gratitude to God for His goodness, His Son, the richness of the earth, our vast human family and all for which we are each personally indebted.
Our right to vote
The U.S. was targeted for destruction on September 11th in an attack aptly called "brilliantly evil." We mourn the thousands who died; thank God for the thousands who were spared.
We are envied for our freedoms, including the right to choose our leaders. Why would anyone not use that right, especially given the danger of losing it by not using it?
Democracy must not be taken for granted. It is too precious to be squandered.
A good/used small apartment/dorm size refrigerator for our very small kitchen area. To make arrangements to donate yours to RARTL, please call Pat: 716-621-4690.
Please become a prayer
partner by spending 5-10 minutes daily in prayer about life issues. We hope this
partnership will fill 24 hours of each day to have a prayer shield over the area. Please
join in the following suggested weekly prayer themes that:
Mary Lou Armstrong
Want to do a RARTL MEMORIAL/HONOR TRIBUTE? You are most welcome to remember a deceased loved one by making a memorial contribution to the Rochester Area Right to Life Committee Education Fund. Your tax-deductible contribution can also commemorate birthdays, new arrivals, or other special occasions.
A card in your name will be sent to the family/person you designate. The contribution amount is confidential.
Would you like a subscription to this newsletter?
Official Publication: Rochester Area Right to Life Committee, Inc. Education Fund
A non-profit organization
675 Ling Road, Suite 3 - Rochester, New York 14612 -
Fax: (716) 621-6966 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.righttoliferoch.org
Please feel free to copy/distribute and include mention of LIFE-LINES and its sources in copied materials.
|RARTL Office Hours
8 AM to 4 PM
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
Always good to call before coming:
|Action Alerts||Pro-life in The News||Newsletter - Rochester Area RTL|
Right to Life Website - Main Headings
|Home||What's New||Local Events||Life Stage