Thursday, August 17, 2006

Letter to the Editor

HT to Marti

Posted on: Thursday, August 17, 2006
Honolulu Advertiser
Letters to the Editor


As Election Day 2006 approaches, I hope people are taking seriously the responsibility that comes with voting.

As a 16-year-old, I cannot yet vote, but wait eagerly for the day I turn 18 and can.
However, I am old enough to know a problem when I see one. As a 16-year-old in the state of Hawai'i, it troubles me when I walk into Longs Drug Store to buy cough syrup but can't. Why? Because you have to be 18 to do that!

What about when I go to Blockbuster to rent an "R"-rated movie? Nope, can't do that either.
However, I am able to get an abortion or emergency contraception without parental consent.
I am not debating whether it is right or wrong, but am I the only person in this state who finds it troubling that I can get an abortion but I can't buy cough medicine?

I hope people will take time to really think about what voting means to them. Don't follow the crowd. Vote for whomever you feel will get done what needs to be done.

Brittany Olson

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wash For Life

Coming September 16th to a Parking Lot Near You…
By Holly Smith

Whether raising money for marching bands, sports teams, youth groups or drama productions, car washes as youth fundraisers have become as American as apple pie. A group of six students and new graduates from Thomas Aquinas College in Ojai, California, are taking the idea to a higher level… a much higher level.

Meet “Wash for Life,” a national effort to raise funds and awareness for local pregnancy care centers by enlisting youth to operate simultaneous car washes in their own areas to benefit their own local pregnancy centers on September 16, 2006. With a goal of 2000 car washes nationwide to raise $1 million for pregnancy centers, “the Wash for Life will allow [youth] to do something to help their community directly by supporting their local crisis pregnancy center [CPC],” explained Jonathan Tonkowich, executive director of Wash for Life.

“It will also allow communities to see that the youth of America are pro-life and willing to stand up to help women and children in need, especially since many of the women with unplanned pregnancies are their peers,” he said. “It will also help youth know more about CPCs and what they do and how they can help people.”

The simplicity of operating a car wash is definitely one of this program’s biggest assets. They are easy to organize. They can be run just by finding a willing gas station, grocery store, school or church parking lot in a high traffic area. Add a bunch of young people, like a teens for life club, youth group or group of friends that are pro-life, and the task of coordinating the car wash doesn’t seem too daunting.

In fact, if it does seem overwhelming, visit the “Tips for Running a Car Wash” link at for guidelines to follow to maximize funds raised and fun for the volunteers and minimize opportunities to re-invent the wheel.

Participating in a program close to home also makes planning easier. As organizer John Cunningham pointed out, “One of the benefits of the Wash for Life is that those who participate do not have to travel. You can be part of a nationwide event without leaving your hometown.”

The bookkeeping is the easiest part. “The money stays local. 100% of the funds raised by each car wash go to the pregnancy care center in its own community,” Cunningham explained. “A group might arrange with the [pregnancy care center] to buy a certain piece of equipment, or they might want to have a formal ceremony; or they can simply put the money in an envelope and hand it over. They will tell us how much they raised, but the [CPC] gets all of it. We are, however, accepting donations to pay organization and living expenses for the team while we work on this project. This is entirely separate from the money being raised on September 16.”

Be sure to visit and register on the website if you plan to hold a car wash, or if you are interested in having your car washed or making a donation to the organization. That way, the Wash for Life team can direct people to your wash and track the effort and amount of total money raised for CPCs.

Whether you are young or old, a car washer or a customer, this is a pro-life event we can all participate in. “One of our main goals is to help our fellow youth become active in the pro-life movement,” Cunningham said. “Most of America's young people believe that abortion is wrong and that the women who are threatened by it should be helped; sometimes all it takes is a project like this to inspire them with their own ideas. “

“Our send-off message to those who participate on September 16,” he concluded, “will be to use the enthusiasm it generates to find other ways to spread the culture of life.”

Raising resources and advertising for local CPCs, getting young people involved in the pro-life movement, showing the public face of the right-to-life movement as young, engaged and eager to help, and a community of clean cars—why wouldn’t you do a Wash for Life?!

“Our send-off message to those who participate on September 16 will be to use the enthusiasm it generates to find other ways to spread the culture of life.” – Wash for Life Team member John Cunningham

Indian premier calls for end to killing of unborn girls

HT to Marti

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called on parents in India to stop seeing girls as an economic liability and to end the practice of killing unborn female foetuses.

Singh's appeal on India's 59th Independence Day came four days after the grisly discovery of 25 female foetuses from a private clinic in northern Punjab state, which has the country's lowest sex ratio due to rampant female foeticide.

"We must end the crime of female foeticide. We must eliminate gender disparity," Singh said in an address to the nation.

"We have a dream of an India in which every woman can feel safe, secure and empowered. Where our mothers, sisters and daughters are assured a life of dignity and personal security," he added.

A study by British medical journal The Lancet said this year that India may have lost 10 million unborn girls in the past 20 years, but Indian experts say the figure is not more than five million.

Under Indian law, tests to find out the gender of an unborn baby are illegal if not done for medical reasons, but the practice continues in what activists say is a flourishing multi-million dollar business.

Premier Singh urged parents not to neglect their girl children.

"It should be ensured that every young woman is educated and skilled and capable of guiding a new generation," he said.

Punjab state has 798 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of six while the national average is 927 -- still well below the worldwide average of 1,050 female babies.

Girls in India are often considered a liability as parents have to put away large sums of money for dowries at the time of their marriage.

Centuries of tradition also demand that couples produce at least one male child to carry on the family name.

Many grooms demand dowry well beyond the means of families of their spouse -- demands which often result in the killing of newly-married women.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, India in 2004 posted 19 dowry-related deaths every day but women's organisations say the actual figure is 10 times higher.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Abortion Clinic Won't Be Satisfied

HT to Marti

Thursday, August 10, 2006


A state appeals court Wednesday declined to sanction an Englewood abortion clinic that was accused of filing a frivolous lawsuit against an antiabortion group.

Metropolitan Medical Associates -- known for dramatic protests it attracted in the 1990s -- sued the Legal Center for Defense of Life two years ago, saying the group organized pickets who intimidated patients and blocked public access to the clinic.

The clinic also sued the city for not enforcing ordinances against obstructive sidewalk activities, and sought a protest-free buffer zone around the Engle Street facility.

A state Superior Court judge in Hackensack dismissed the lawsuit, saying the claim should have been made in federal court, where the clinic was tangled for years in litigation with protesters represented by the Morristown-based center.

The center, a law firm of volunteer lawyers representing clients in abortion, euthanasia and other right-to-life cases, then filed a complaint alleging that the clinic's lawsuit was frivolous and filed in bad faith, costing the center nearly $20,000 in legal fees.

Now-retired Superior Court Judge Gerald C. Escala dismissed the center's claim, but an appellate panel reversed the decision, saying the judge did not articulate the reasons for the dismissal. Escala then issued a procedural explanation, which the center challenged on a second appeal.

The three-judge appellate panel ruled Wednesday that the judge applied proper procedural rules in dismissing the center's claim. Steering clear of any precedent-setting, the four-page opinion did not address the issue of whether the clinic's lawsuit was frivolous.

"It seems the judges are going out of their way to avoid saying that," said Richard Collier, president of the center. "They are coming up with all sorts of reasons to avoid a hot issue."

Collier called the clinic's lawsuit clearly frivolous.

"Instead of suing the picketers, they sued their attorneys," he said. "That's like suing the attorney for an insurance company after you get in a car accident."

That's not even a close comparison, said Lawrence Kleiner, the attorney for the clinic.

Despite the center's denial, there is evidence that the firm went beyond representing demonstrators in court, he said. "The organization instructed picketers how to picket more effectively," he said.

The battle between the clinic and the center dates back to the mid-1990s, when the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office charged several demonstrators, some of whom entered the clinic and chained themselves. The charges were dismissed after a Superior Court judge in Hackensack struck down a 1974 consent order that required protesters to remain across the street from the clinic.

The protesters, who were represented by the legal center, were then allowed to picket outside the clinic as long as they didn't block the entrance.

The two clashed again when the federal government sued 29 antiabortion protestors in 1997, seeking a 60-foot buffer zone around the clinic. Again represented by the legal center, the demonstrators invoked their right to free speech.

A federal judge did not approve the buffer zone but prohibited protesters from blocking access to the clinic.