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Archive for November, 2005

Appeals court upholds decision striking down Missouri abortion ban

Posted by ssbg on November 30, 2005


By David A. Lieb
Associated Press
Monday, Nov. 28 2005

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal appeals panel on Monday upheld a
decision striking down a Missouri ban on certain late-term abortions that lower
courts had concluded lacked an exception for the health of pregnant women.

The 1999 law sought to ban what critics call “partial-birth abortion,” but
it was put on hold by a federal judge one day after the Legislature enacted it
by overriding a gubernatorial veto.

After years of legal battles in both state and federal courts, U.S. District
Judge Scott O. Wright declared the law unconstitutional in July 2004, citing
the lack of a health exception. A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals in St. Louis upheld that decision Monday.

Wright and the appeals panel both cited a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision
striking down Nebraska’s “partial-birth abortion” ban for failing to have a
health exception.

The appeals court panel said Missouri had failed to show there had been any
factual developments since the 2000 ruling, such as a new medical consensus or
new studies on the necessity of the procedure.

Abortion rights advocates said they hoped Thursday’s ruling would put an end
to the six-year legal battle.

“The Missouri law, like so many in other states, is clearly
unconstitutional, because the Missouri law contains absolutely no exception for
when the health of a woman might be at risk during a pregnancy,” said Paula
Gianino, president of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, whose
Reproductive Health Services entity was the lead plaintiff.

A spokesman for Attorney General Jay Nixon said the office was reviewing the
court decision to determine its next step. Nixon could appeal the decision to
the full 8th Circuit or the Supreme Court, or could drop the matter.

Gov. Matt Blunt, who as a House member was one of the original co-sponsors
of the legislation, said he was “extremely disappointed with this court ruling
that continues to allow barbaric partial-birth abortions in our state.”

“I am hopeful that we can find a way to ensure that these babies are
protected,” Blunt said.

The invalidated Missouri law created the crime of “infanticide,” defined as
intentionally causing the death of a baby “when the infant is partially born or
born.” Abortion physicians violating the ban could have been charged with a
felony similar to murder.

Although the law did not specifically use such terminology, the Missouri
Court of Appeals determined in 2002 that it criminalized the medical procedure
known as intact dilation and evacuation or extraction, in which a fetus is
partially delivered before being killed. The procedure generally is performed
in the second or third trimester.

Patty Skain, executive director of Missouri Right to Life, said it would be
pointless to pursue new legislation banning the procedure while allowing an
exception for a woman’s health because abortion providers could interpret the
exception broadly.

Gianino disputed that assertion, suggesting that physicians take their tasks
seriously and perform late-term abortions only rarely.

In July, a panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld a
judge’s decision striking down the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act as
unconstitutional for failing to make an exception for a woman’s health.
President Bush’s administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn that

The Supreme Court’s 2000 decision was decided by a 5-4 majority that
included retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Bush has nominated as her
replacement 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Samuel Alito, whose track
record on abortion could suggest a shift toward more restrictions.

Some abortion opponents said the best hope of reviving Missouri’s law rests
with the Supreme Court.

“The appeals court’s decision highlights the urgent need to change the
makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court so that Congress and state legislatures can
totally ban partial-birth abortion,” said Samuel Lee of Campaign Life Missouri.


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Dutch Establish Child Euthanasia Commission

Posted by ssbg on November 30, 2005


This is mind boggling considering the euthanasia of children is still technically illegal in Holland. But leave it to the Dutch to find new ways to make the rule of law meaningless. 

From Reuters:

The Netherlands is setting up a commission to regulate the practice of ending the lives of “seriously suffering” newborn babies, the government said on Tuesday, in a move critics say could allow more euthanasia.Euthanasia of newborns and late abortions remain illegal, but the commission — composed of three doctors, a lawyer and a ethicist — is likely to recommend that doctors who follow certain rules are not charged in concrete cases.

Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Junior Health Minister Clemence Ross-van Dorp said they hoped the commission, expected to start work in mid-2006, would improve the transparency of decision making.

“We wanted to respond to the needs of doctors to create clarity in how to deal with ending the life of seriously suffering newborns as well as the legal consequences of late abortions,” the ministers wrote in a letter to parliament.

“The conventions, as well as the opinion of the commission, offer doctors the knowledge that cases will not just be seen from a legal perspective but also from a medical and ethical perspective … the uncertainty of doctors is being addressed.”

The attention to the concerns and needs of the doctors is quite touching. Can you feel the love?

But seeing as the focus, as usual in the Netherlands, is on removing any consequences for doctors, the emphasis on guidelines is misleading:

A study earlier this year showed that Dutch doctors had reported 22 cases between 1997 and 2004 of euthanasia of babies with spina bifida, a disabling birth defect affecting the spinal column, but had not been prosecuted after judicial review.Prosecutors had decided against charging doctors as long as unofficial rules — dubbed the Groningen protocol after the university hospital that compiled them — were met.

The ministers want the commission to work on the basis of similar criteria, allowing euthanasia or late abortion if the baby had no chance of survival and was suffering unbearably, if the doctor consulted at least one other, the parents agreed and the life was ended in the correct medical way.

It has often been pointed out that guidelines are meaningless when not backed up by the appropriate punishments for violating them. Because of this the slippery slope in the Netherlands has already become a free fall. Innocent lives will hang in the balance, their fate not subject to justice, but the whims of the Commissiom of Death.

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Posted by ssbg on November 30, 2005

by Jay on 11-29-05 @ 4:27 pm Filed under News, Christmas
Washington Times

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has told federal officials that the lighted, decorated tree on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol — known in recent years as the “Holiday Tree? — should be renamed the “Capitol Christmas Tree,? as it was called until the late 1990s.

The Capitol’s senior landscape architect confirmed the name switch yesterday for The Washington Times.

“It was known as the ‘Holiday Tree’ for several years and just recently was changed back to the ‘Capitol Christmas Tree.’ This was a directive from the speaker,? said Capitol architect Matthew Evans.

“The speaker believes a Christmas tree is a Christmas tree, and it is as simple as that,? said Ron Bonjean, spokesman for the Illinois Republican.

The Capitol tree, traditionally overshadowed by the White House’s “National Christmas Tree,? was renamed a “holiday tree? several years ago, according to the Capitol Architect’s offices, in an effort to acknowledge the other holidays of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah — although no one seemed to know exactly when the name was changed or by whom.

Calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree has become a politically charged prospect in jurisdictions across the country — from Boston to Sacramento and in dozens of communities in between.

“It’s a growing problem,? said Jared N. Leland, spokesman and legal counsel for the Becket Fund, a District-based legal and educational institute. “Celebrating the season with Christmas trees … and leaving them named ‘Christmas’ is simply recognizing the religious nature of people. Christmas should be able to be called Christmas.?

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Americans United for Life

Posted by ssbg on November 30, 2005

Americans United for Life Files Suit on Behalf of Five Pharmacies Suing Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Over the Coercion Rule Forcing Pharmacies to Dispense the Morning-After Pill

CHICAGO, September 14, 2005 – Today, Americans United for Life filed suit against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on behalf of the owners of five Illinois pharmacies. The plaintiffs are challenging his rule forcing pharmacies to dispense contraceptives and abortifacient drugs such as the morning-after pill “without delay.? They assert that the rule is a violation of their rights under state law. 

The suit was filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs are Luke and Joan Vander Bleek who own two pharmacies in Whiteside County and co-own own two pharmacies in Dekalb County with plaintiff Tom O’Shea, and Glenn Kosirog who owns a pharmacy in northern Cook County. Each of the owners is a full-time pharmacist as well as a pharmacy owner.

The suit alleges in part that the Governor’s rule violates the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act by compelling pharmacy owners who do not want to dispense drugs such as the morning-after pill (a drug that can cause abortions) to act against their ethical and moral beliefs by forcing them to do so. The suit also challenges the ability of the Governor to require health care providers to violate their conscience or choose another career.

Attorneys with Americans United for Life believe that if the Governor’s rule is allowed to stand, the rights of conscience of all health care providers in the state are in jeopardy.

Edward R. Martin, Jr., attorney and Director of the Center for the Rights of Conscience at Americans United for Life said, “Our clients are suing to protect their rights as Americans—their right to build a business, contribute to society as health care professionals, and to live their lives according to their principles. What we have here in Illinois is a governor who continues to engage in breath-taking power grabs – all to curry favor with certain special interest groups. Meanwhile, men and women health care professionals find their right to practice pharmacy threatened. Each of these small business owners just wants to be left alone but finds that they must go to court to fight off this government abuse of power.?

Martin continued, “This suit is a fight to defend private individuals’ right to be free from this Governor’s coercive and politically-motivated action. If pharmacy owners can be compelled to participate in acts they find morally objectionable, then other business owners and individuals can only wonder what government action will come for them next.?

A copy of the complaint can be found at

For interviews, contact Daniel McConchie, Director of Public Relations and Public Policy for Americans United for Life at 847-840-5945.

Americans United for Life (AUL) is the leading public-interest law firm dedicated to providing legal expertise and strategy in the field of life-affirming legislation, litigation, and public education. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, AUL’s fields of legal expertise include abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, destructive embryo research, and human cloning.

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Good Verse

Posted by ssbg on November 30, 2005

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God – Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV)

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