Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ms. Magazine Ignored Petitions From Women Who Regret Abortions

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 4, 2006


Beverly Hills, CA (LifeNews.com) -- In an election-year effort to rally abortion advocates, Ms. Magazine plans to include the names of women who have had abortions and are happy about the decision in its next issue. However, Ms. is coming under fire from women who tried to tell the magazine's editors they regret their abortions.


Georgette Forney, the head of a national group for women who wish they could undo their abortion decision, says she knows of many women who submitted petitions to Ms. saying their abortion decision was something that plagued them the rest of their lives.

Forney told LifeNews.com that the womens magazine ignored their comments.

"Silent No More women from across the country submitted petitions to Ms. Magazine asking that their voices be included in the 'We had abortions,' campaign," Forney told LifeNews.com in exclusive comments.

"But, the magazine did not even extend the courtesy of a response," Forney said.

Forney, who had an abortion herself at age 16 and strongly regrets her decision, said a magazine "that is supposed to be all about women" is leaving out the voices of perhaps millions of women who don't agree abortion is pro-woman.

She said the refusal to include any comments from women who regret their abortions shows outreach efforts like the Silent No More Awareness Campaign are making a dent in the argument that abortion is a panacea for women with an unexpected pregnancy.

"Obviously Ms. Magazine's providing only a venue for voices that support [abortion] illustrates the effectiveness of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign," she said.

Knowing that the magazine planned to have the feature story on women having abortions, Luana Stoltenberg, the Iowa leader of another post-abortion group, Operation Outcry, wrote the editors about her own abortion experience.

Stoltenberg, who has been interviewed by numerous mainstream media outlets and writes eloquently about her abortion regret, received a curt reply from Ms. magazine senior editor Michele Kort.

"[J]ust because you had a negative experience and post-abortion regrets does not mean that the choice to have an abortion should be made illegal—or extremely difficult—for the millions of women who still would make that choice," the editors wrote her.

Stoltenberg responded by saying Ms. magazine is doing a disservice to women by ignoring those who know their abortion destroyed their lives.

"Your response shows no compassion whatsoever," she responded. "Why am I being told to be tolerant and know your side but you refuse to listen to my side?"

"How is it that you can profess to care about all women and refuse them the information to truly be educated and informed about the ‘choice’ they could make?" Stoltenberg added. "That doesn't seem caring at all to me. It seems that you are driven by your agenda and not by your concern for women."

Ms. magazine is also coming under fire for using the abortion petition as a fund-raising tool.

The magazine is owned and operated by the Feminist Majority Foundation, a pro-abortion group, and women who sign the online petition are urged to make a donation to the organization.

In a poll on the Ms. magazine story sponsored by AOL, 109,735 people responded and 51 percent said they thought it was a "bad idea." Just 24 percent felt the story was a good idea and 25 percent had mixed feelings.

Ms. magazine has been urging its readers to respond to the poll.

ACTION: Express your views to Ms. magazine: Ms. Petition, 1600 Wilson Blvd. Suite 801, Arlington, VA 22209, 866-444-3652. You can also email Ms. magazine senior editor Michelle Kort at mkort@msmagazine.com

How To Counter the Ms. Magazine Abortion Petition

Hat tip to A Catholic Mom in Hawaii for posting the following:

By now you probably have read
THE ARTICLE about the petition being prepared by Ms. Magazine. As Amy puts it:


Ms. magazine is running the names of 5,000 women who are boasting they had abortions. Why? Because - as Ann Coulter argues - abortion is the holiest of sacraments for the left.

In response and to counter that blatant display of disregard for life, AMY is preparing a Petition to send to Congress. The following is from her blog:


So now I'm asking you, my readers, fellow bloggers, fellow pro-lifers, to do something very simple:

Help me create a petition that will put the one in Ms. to shame. Email this post to every man and woman you know. Email your names and cities/states to me. I'll compile them and send a petition to Congress - a petition with the names of people who think women (and their unborn children) deserve better than an abortion.

I want to get more than the 5,000 signatures Ms. is boasting it has.

The heading of the petition will read:

We, the undersigned, believe that life begins at conception, and that the dignity and life of every human being must be respected from conception to natural death. We believe abortion is a grave immoral act and constitutes murder of a human being, and that women and unborn children deserve better. Therefore, we urge our government and representatives to hear our voices as we oppose America's current abortion laws.


So be sure to email
Amy your name, city and state and to forward the blog link to every man and women who stands for life.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Women Sign 'We Had Abortions' Petition

HT to Marti

Oct 03 2:29 PM US/Eastern

By DAVID CRARY
AP National Writer

NEW YORK

At a pivotal time in the abortion debate, Ms. magazine is releasing its fall issue next week with a cover story titled "We Had Abortions," accompanied by the names of thousands of women nationwide who signed a petition making that declaration.


The publication coincides with what the abortion-rights movement considers a watershed moment for its cause. Abortion access in many states is being curtailed, activists are uncertain about the stance of the U.S. Supreme Court, and South Dakotans vote Nov. 7 on a measure that would ban virtually all abortions in their state, even in cases of rape and incest.

"All this seems very dire," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, which publishes Ms.

"We have to get away from what the politicians are saying," she said, "and get women's lives back in the picture."

Even before the issue reaches newsstands Oct. 10, anti-abortion activists have been decrying it. Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, wrote in a commentary that when she saw a Ms. announcement of the project, "the evil practically jumped right off the page."

Ms. executive editor Katherine Spillar said more than 5,000 women have signed the petition so far _ heeding its appeal to declare they are unashamed of the choice they made. The magazine itself had room for only 1,016 names, she said Tuesday, but all of them will be viewable online as Ms. encourages other women to continue adding their signatures.

Ms. says it will send the petition to Congress, the White House and state legislators.

The signatories include Ms. founder Gloria Steinem, comedian Carol Leifer, and actresses Kathy Najimy and Amy Brenneman, but most are not famous names.

Tyffine Jones, 27, of Jackson, Miss., said she had no hesitation about signing _ although she lives in a state where restrictions on abortion are tough and all but one abortion clinic has been closed.
Jones said she got an abortion 10 years ago _ enduring harassment from protesters when she entered the clinic _ in order to finish high school. She went on to become the first member of her family to graduate from college, and hopes at some point to attend law school.

"I wanted to do something bigger with myself _ I didn't want to be stopped by anything," she said in a telephone interview.

Another signatory, Debbie Findling of San Francisco, described her difficult decision last year to have an abortion after tests showed that she would bear a son with Down syndrome.

"I felt it was my right to make the decision, but having that right doesn't make the decision any easier," she said. "It was the hardest decision I've ever made."

Findling, 42, is married, with a 5-year-old daughter, and has been trying to get pregnant again while pursuing her career as a philanthropic foundation executive.

She says too many of her allies in the abortion-rights movement tend to minimize, at least publicly, the psychological impact of abortion.

"It's emotionally devastating," she said in a phone interview. "I don't regret my decision _ but I regret having been put in the position to have to make that choice. It's something I'll live with for the rest of my life."

Findling strongly supports the Ms. petition, and believes women who have had abortions need to be more open about their decisions. She has written an essay about her own experience, and plans to include it in an anthology she hopes to publish next year.

Ms. mounted this kind of petition drive when it was first published. Its debut issue in 1972 included a manifesto signed by 53 women _ many of them well-known _ declaring that they had undergone abortions despite state laws outlawing the procedure.

The next year, the Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade decision establishing abortion rights nationwide. Some abortion-rights activists are concerned that Roe could be overturned, either by the current court or if President Bush has the opportunity to appoint one more justice.

Smeal said Ms. staffers called the women who signed the petition to verify their information and be sure they were willing to have their names in print.

"The women thanked us for doing this," Smeal said. "They wanted to tell their stories."

___

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Supreme Court Term Opens Today

HT to Marti

Oct 2, 7:22 AM (ET)

By MARK SHERMAN

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new Supreme Court term opens Monday with eyes on its leader, the junior justice, the oldest and the man in the middle as abortion, race and other familiar issues resurface.

President Bush's two conservative appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, give opponents of abortion and affirmative action reason to hope the high court will move in their direction. It was only a few years ago that a different mix of justices seemingly settled some of these questions in high-profile cases.

The outcome of new challenges to a type of late-term abortion, called partial-birth abortion by opponents, and the use of race in assigning students to public schools will "tell us a little bit about the soul of the Roberts court," said Steven Shapiro, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Roberts has talked about seeking greater unanimity on the court, but the results in these cases are unlikely to produce anything close to a consensus.

The retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor leaves Justice Anthony Kennedy, in his 19th year on the court, as the most likely vote to swing between the court's four liberals and four conservatives.

"All eyes are on Kennedy," said former Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

At 86, Justice John Paul Stevens is the leader of the court's liberal wing and shows no signs of slowing down. Last term, he wrote the opinion in the year's biggest case, striking down Bush's plan to try some suspected terrorists before military commissions.

Stevens was the most prolific of the justices last year, writing 27 majority opinions, concurrences and dissents. Stevens marks his 31st year on the court in December.

Important cases on the environment, the size of jury awards, prison sentences and immigrants also are on the calendar, along with a heavier-than-usual dose of business cases.


Legal disputes stemming from the Bush administration's treatment of terrorism suspects, warrantless monitoring of Americans' communications and efforts to invoke national security claims to stop lawsuits could reach the court by the time the term ends in June.

The justices' work will get off to an unusual start. The traditional opening day, the first Monday in October, coincides with Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement.

The court will convene briefly to issue orders and swear in lawyers to the Supreme Court bar, but hear no arguments in cases. Arguments are scheduled Tuesday in two cases. Two of the nine justices - Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer - are Jewish and are not expected in court Monday.

The abortion question before the justices this term is whether the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act is invalid because it does not allow for the procedure to protect the health of the mother

The court struck down a similar Nebraska law in 2000 on those very grounds. In addition, in a rare unanimous ruling in January, the justices reaffirmed that a state could force girls under age 18 to tell their parents before having an abortion, provided there was an exception for medical emergencies.

There are differences between the current case and the one from Nebraska, including the greater deference paid by the court to acts of Congress, that could lead to a different outcome. On the other hand, some justices are uncomfortable overturning earlier decisions, which could favor invalidating the federal law.

But the major difference this time is the change among the justices, said Randy Barnett, a Georgetown University law professor.

O'Connor was part of the 5-4 majority in the 2000 case. Her place has been taken by Alito; people on both sides of the issue expect him to side with abortion opponents.

Kennedy was in the minority six years ago, writing a vehement dissent in support of the Nebraska law. "There are certainly enough votes to flip the issue if Justice Kennedy continues to take the same position," Barnett said.

The new lineup could be a major factor in the public school diversity cases from Seattle and Louisville, Ky. At issue is whether school districts can use race as a factor in determining who gets into oversubscribed schools.

Both systems based their slightly different policies on their desire to have the racial makeup of schools approximate that of the districts as a whole.

In 2003, O'Connor was the deciding vote in upholding the constitutionality of affirmative action in public universities; Kennedy dissented.

Both Roberts and Alito worked as Justice Department lawyers during the Reagan administration, which sought to limit affirmative action. Alito has said he saw the value of diversity in the classroom when he taught a college seminar on civil liberties.

In the court's ruling in June on Texas congressional districts, Roberts described the use of race to apportion voters to one district or another as "a sordid business."

For Supreme Court's new term: rise of a new centrist

HT to Marti

Click here for the article.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Thomas More Law Center Asks U. S. Supreme Court to Review Honolulu's Ban On Pro-Life Expression

HT to Marti

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review its case challenging the constitutionality of the City and County of Honolulu’s ordinance that prohibits the flying of pro-life aerial banners over the beaches of Honolulu. In July of this year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of this ordinance, prompting the Law Center to seek review of the case in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Law Center filed the petition on behalf of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (“CBR”), a California-based pro-life organization, and its executive director, Gregg Cunningham.

Robert Muise, the Law Center attorney handling the case, commented, “CBR’s large aerial banners depicting images of aborted fetuses, although controversial, present a powerful message and communicate ideas that are rhetorically inexpressible. The constitution protects free speech, and in this case, speech that shows abortion is a violent act committed on innocent human life.”

Added Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for the Law Center, “If the pro-life movement is to succeed in banning all abortions, it must convince people that human life begins at conception and that every abortion does in fact result in the destruction of innocent human life.”

The federal lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the Honolulu ordinance on several grounds. Foremost is the allegation that this law violates the free speech rights of CBR and its executive director. According to the petition filed with the Supreme Court, this ordinance is unconstitutional because it is a total ban on a certain form of speech, and it completely forecloses an effective medium of communication for CBR.

The lawsuit also challenges this ordinance under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution because Congress, through the FAA, has acted to preempt any state or municipal law that regulates banner towing and aerial advertising flight operations. The Law Center is asking the Supreme Court to review the Supremacy Clause issue in particular because the Ninth Circuit’s decision conflicts with a decision rendered by the Colorado Supreme Court, which held that such local ordinances are federally preempted and therefore unenforceable.

Muise commented further, “Because we have a decisional split and conflict between the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court on a federal question that has national implications, it is very likely that the Supreme Court will grant review of this case.”

CBR’s Airborne Reproductive Choice Campaign, which consists of large, colorful pictures depicting graphic images of first-term aborted fetuses displayed on banners towed behind aircraft, has attracted a great deal of national attention and controversy. CBR estimates that by displaying one banner for approximately five hours over a populated area, they are able to communicate their pro-life message to hundreds of thousands of people. CBR’s banners have flown over many states throughout the United States, and CBR wants to take its daring project to Hawaii, which is home to some of the most heavily visited beaches in the world.

Standing in CBR’s way at the moment is a local ordinance enacted by the City and County of Honolulu that prohibits any banner towing flight operations in Honolulu. This lawsuit is seeking to remove this obstacle.

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through education, litigation, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at Thomas More Law Center.