Friday, October 20, 2006

Dakota divided as abortion vote tests US opinion

H/T to Marti

By Holly Yeager in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Published: October 19 2006 19:25 Last updated: October 19 2006 19:25

Abortion-rights activists in South Dakota took many by surprise a few months ago when they said voters should decide the fate of the state’s new abortion law, the most restrictive in the US.

Now, with a referendum on the November 7 ballot, their campaign has become the frontline in the long-running national debate on abortion.

A victory here would show that even in a conservative Midwestern state, the public will not tolerate a near-total ban on abortion. But a defeat would signal just how difficult a challenge campaigners face in trying to protect a woman’s right to abortion.

While they bristle at the attention, the South Dakota activists are counting on residents of this old frontier state to prove them right.

“I don’t think South Dakota likes being in the limelight,” says Jan Nicolay, co-chair of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, formed to fight the abortion law, as a light snow falls outside the group’s slipshod Sioux Falls office.

“We’re a pretty independent, proud group of people,” she adds, hoping that independent streak will help voters reject what she sees as government meddling in an individual decision.

The law, passed with broad support by the state legislature and signed by Governor Mike Rounds in March, makes it a crime to help a woman abort a pregnancy at any stage, including in cases of rape and incest. Women would not face charges but doctors who perform abortions could be sentenced to five years in prison. The only exception in the law is to save the life of the mother.

The central message of the campaign to repeal it – taped on the office window, printed in voter guides being mailed out this week and mentioned frequently by volunteers making telephone calls to voters – is a simple one: “This law simply goes too far.” The referendum has prompted vigorous public debate, with television and radio advertisements, lawn signs and newspaper inserts. Neither side will discuss how much money has been spent, and how much of their firepower is coming from outside the state. “It’s a very divisive issue,” says Jack Billion, Democratic candidate for governor, who backs repeal of the law. “It pits family versus family.”

A recent poll showed opponents of the law with a slim lead, and abortion-rights activists hope victory here could discourage other states from moving to adopt similar bans. But if their repeal effort fails, they will take their battle to the courts.

A court challenge would be welcome news for some anti-abortion activists, who see the strict South Dakota law as a good opportunity for the US Supreme Court – with President George W. Bush’s two appointees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito – to overturn Roe vs Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalised abortion.

The Vote Yes for Life campaign is based in a warehouse on the outskirts of Sioux Falls. Outside, a bumper sticker declares, “The Killing Stops Here”. Inside, a home-schooled teenager stops by to volunteer. There are hundreds of lawn signs to be distributed and DVDs that feature women who regret their abortions, and one who became pregnant after she was raped. “I am here to say that true compassion does not come from abortion but from giving life.”

Rushing between appointments, Leslee Unruh, who is leading the campaign, mentions an abortion she had nearly 30 years ago and the support she received from other “post-abortive” women who say they regret their decisions. She has tried to expand the traditional debate on abortion beyond its effect on the unborn to its effect on women.

“We’re not going to be silenced,” she says. “It doesn’t matter if we win or we lose. We are educating people that abortion hurts women and we’re not going to stop.”

She shakes her head when asked whether the state can make such decisions for others. “Don’t get pregnant then, if you don’t want a child,” says Mrs Unruh. But maintaining legal access to abortion should not be an option. “We need to be protected. Abortion harms us, physically and emotionally.”

South Dakota voters drew national attention two years ago when they surprised the political pundits and voted out Tom Daschle, Democratic leader in the US Senate. This year, voters’ positions on the abortion question are difficult to predict, frequently crossing gender and party lines.

Sharon Rons, a Democrat who owns her own small business, said she would vote to keep the law. “I don’t think abortion should be a form of birth control,” she says, adding that the decision to end a pregnancy “could haunt women for the rest of their lives”.

But some Republicans say they will oppose it, perhaps a reflection of a libertarian strain that runs through the sparsely populated state. “I just don’t feel that somebody else should make this decision for a woman,” said one Republican pensioner.

“We are responsible people,” said Mrs Nicolay, a Rep­ublican and former member of the state legislature. “We can make our own decisions.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006

Clinic shuts down after abortionist disappears

H/T to Marti

Posted: October 19, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com

Joseph Scheidler of Pro-Life Action League

Another abortion clinic, this time in Illinois, is closed after sheriff's deputies hauled the "medical equipment" and office supplies out of the building during a court-ordered eviction.

It brings to about a dozen to number of clinics shut down in the United States in just the past few months.

Officials say the owner of the building, retired abortionist Aleksander Jakubowksi, ran his abortion business at the site for years, then when he retired last year handed the business over to abortionist Louis S. Myers, who rented the building from Jakubowski.

But it was Jakubowski himself who demanded the eviction of the Suburban Gynecology Clinic in suburban Chicago when Myers, who has a record of disciplinary action with the state, just vanished.

"I don't know what happened to them," Jakubowski told reporters.

The building now is up for sale.

Joseph Scheidler, national director for the Pro-Life Action League said he was pleased the facility was closed, and noted that the abortion industry appears to be moving backwards.

Nearly a dozen abortion businesses in Illinois, Ohio, California, Alabama and Florida have been closed recently over a variety of issues, including workers without medical licenses performing medical procedures, the misuse of drugs, babies allegedly killed after being born alive, and now a disappearing abortionist.

"For one thing, they can't get abortionists. They're getting old. There are just not new people coming into the abortion industry. Most of the young obstetricians and gynecologists, they don't want to get into that," Scheidler told WND.

He said the constant protesting by pro-life interests definitely is a factor, but even more is a negative connotation the society of physicians gives abortionists.

During medical school classes, he said he's been told by doctors, any student that seems to have the most trouble would be referred to as the "abortionist."

"We rejoice that yet another abortion mill has closed its doors," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "We pray that Myers is permanently out of the killing business and that the building will be bought by someone, preferably pro-lifers, who will use the space for some good purpose."

He said he was encouraging activists in the Chicago area to buy the Aurora, Ill., building and "turn it into a crisis pregnancy center."

Just weeks earlier, Ohio state regulators uncovered a dozen health code violations, including a serious situation that endangered the life of a patient, and shut down an East Side Cleveland clinic.

Operation Rescue officials say of the dozen clinics shut down, several have reopened following compliance with rules. But the actions have included:


The closure of a clinic in Omaha, Neb., where the land was purchased from underneath the business and the owners couldn't find another facility to rent.

The closure of the clinic that formerly operated in the building that now houses the Operation Rescue headquarters in Wichita, Kan.

A facility in Birmingham, Ala., was closed because of a suspended license.

One business in Montgomery, Ala., was closed when authorities found the abortionist didn't have hospital privileges.

A business in Hialeah, Fla., where an investigation continues into allegations a baby was born alive, then killed and placed on the roof of the building to avoid detection by police, was shut down.

Five clinics owned by a Florida abortionist when his license was suspended all were closed, although several of those reopened later.

And another case involved a business in Daytona Beach, Fla., where the abortionist said he didn't want to meet the required rules.

Hope from the heartland for women and babies

H/T to Marti

Posted: October 19, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

The historic South Dakota law that ends abortion on demand is described in its opening paragraph as "An Act to … reinstate the prohibition against certain acts causing the termination of an unborn human life. …"

By the passage of this bill, artfully crafted by a bipartisan majority of the South Dakota Legislature and signed by Gov. Mike Rounds, we have the hope of beginning to reverse a tragic epoch in the way we treat women and babies.

The Legislature acted on the twin findings of a task force that found irrefutable scientific proof that abortion hurts women and life begins at conception. In passing this bill, the Legislature sought to protect women and save the lives of hundreds of children every year. The good citizens of South Dakota will have the opportunity to ratify the legislation in November by voting "yes" on Referred Law 6.

While this seems on the surface simply to be the right thing to do, those who profit from abortion, such as Planned Parenthood, are directing their formidable national resources against the success of the effort. Their strategy seems to be to confuse and frighten the voters. But South Dakotans are not easily manipulated.

One thing that the opponents of the legislation will not admit to is that there are limited exceptions for abortion in instances of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. This means that abortion will no longer be used as a method of birth control, which most people object to. Instead, it will be used only in situations where women have been the victim of abuse or are at risk of losing their lives. Once South Dakotans know this, they will overwhelmingly vote yes for life.

Hollywood elites such as Jane Fonda and Robin Williams have given money to "enlighten" the heartland about the virtues of abortion. Groups such as the National Organization for Women are working in South Dakota to reverse the ban. One wonders why leading feminists support an act that so harms women and makes them more subject to exploitation by men. Where are the real women's advocates when you need them?

In a more tragic act of misguided morality, a small group of South Dakota ministers recently weighed in at a press conference. These ministers are supposed to represent Christ in South Dakota, yet they argued that protecting women from exploitation and saving the lives of babies is not a simple matter of right and wrong. I am sure that many of their parishioners were shocked to see their ministers echoing the Planned Parenthood position. Thank God for the hundreds of faithful ministers in South Dakota who have endorsed the VoteYesForLife.com campaign.

What the South Dakota Legislature did is not radical. The Legislature is standing in our great historic Western legal tradition. It was paganism, like that in ancient Rome, that practiced abortion on demand. This was always rejected throughout history wherever Christian values were followed.

Christ honored women and did more to exalt women than anyone in history. We must also seek to protect them from sexual exploitation, including abortion. Christ valued children and tenderly blessed them. We, too, must love them into the world, because all life is created in the image of God.

This is the hope we have from the heartland – the simple, common decency that South Dakotans have always exhibited. There is no confusion here – only the hope of the end of this most egregious exploitation of women and loss of precious human life. For the sake of women and babies, I urge a "yes" vote on Referred Law 6.

Every Woman's 'Power to Choose' is in Danger with Republicans in Charge

H/T to Marti

By Mazie Hirono, 10/16/2006 5:32:25 PM
Hawaii’s women have been fortunate in matters of choice and reproductive rights. In 1970, our state was the first in the nation to make safe, medical abortions legal. That brave action by the Hawaii legislature came three years before the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe V. Wade made the same rights available to women across the country.

Today, every woman’s power to choose is in danger. While Republicans and Far-Right pressure groups have not yet been able to overturn Roe v. Wade, they continue to chip away at this fundamental right by calling for limits on our reproductive freedom.

We need to remain vigilant, to continue to see through the slogans and political spin that anti-choice activists employ to cloud the issue. We must ensure that the public recognizes that phrases like “partial birth abortion” and “parental notification” are rhetoric aimed at turning choice into a wedge issue.

The opponents of our right to choose will try to soothe us with smiles and reassuring words, but by staying focused on the real question before us, we will recognize their position for what it is: an attempt to impose their narrow views on our basic right to control our own bodies.

I have been a champion of choice my entire political and professional career, and I will continue to fight for our rights in Congress. The women of our state and our nation deserve no less.

Mazie Hirono is the Hawaii Democrats' congressional candidate for the Second Congressional District.

HawaiiReporter.com reports the real news, and prints all editorials submitted, even if they do not represent the viewpoint of the editors, as long as they are written clearly. Send editorials to mailto:Malia@HawaiiReporter.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

NRLC's name being used on the Internet to advertise Abortionists

Population Group Says 300 Million Americans Is Not Enough

Population Research Institute pri@pop.org wrote:
Date: Monday, October 16th, 2006
Subject: "300 Million Is Not Enough"

Population Group Says 300 Million Americans Is Not Enough

FRONT ROYAL, Va.—Contradicting what many experts have been saying, the Population Research Institute (PRI) believes that the United States is suffering from insufficient population growth even though the U.S. Census Bureau says the American population will reach 300 million tomorrow. “When you look at the projections that show our population aging rapidly over the next few decades, when you see our economy and government programs such as Social Security risking bankruptcy, you can see that the United States’ annual 0.9% population growth rate is not enough,” said Steven Mosher, President of PRI. “America’s baby boomers didn’t have many children on average, and as a result, our country faces a gray dawn. Even our currently high immigration levels haven’t made up the difference.”

“According to United Nations figures, the percentage of the American population 65 or over will rise from 12.3% today to 20.6% by 2050. The proportion of Americans 80 or over will rise from 3.6% to 7.3% of the population,” said Joseph A. D’Agostino, Vice President for Communications at PRI. “Our worker-to-retiree ratio is already at a dangerous 3-to-1. By 2050, it will be 2-to-1. And those retirees will be living much longer than they do today thanks to beneficial improvements in health care. We’ve been trying to make up for our low birthrate through lots of immigration, which has created its own problems. But if Americans won’t create the next generation, then it must be imported.”

The birthrate of the United States is 2.0 children per woman, slightly less than the replacement rate of 2.1. Without immigrants, the birthrate would be even lower. As we have noted previously, the United States’ population density is 31 people per square kilometer, well below the world average of 48 and far below those of most Western European nations. Americans continue to leave rural areas for large metropolitan areas, creating the illusion that America is becoming overpopulated. Yet only 4.7% of American land is built up.

For more information including an audio clip, go to www.pop.org. To schedule an interview, call Joseph D’Agostino at 540-622-5240 ext. 204. E-mail: jad@pop.org.

Population Research Institute,
1190 Progress Dr.-Suite 2D,
P.O. Box 1559,
Front Royal, Va. 22630 USA

Scalia Gives ACLU an Earful

October 16, 2006

by Pete Winn, associate editor of www.CitizenLink.com

The Court's top conservative confronts the American Civil Liberties Union face to face — not that his insights changed any minds.

Delegates to the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) annual conference in Washington, D.C., heard from a conservative icon Sunday night — Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Speaking to an audience of 1,500 civil libertarians during an hour-long debate with ACLU President Nadine Strossen, Scalia spoke out about abortion, same-sex marriage and religious freedom.

The conservative justice told the left - leaning lawyers group there is no basis in the U.S. Constitution for abortion or homosexual rights — and that controversial issues should be settled through the democratic process, not through the courts.

"What democracy means," he said, "is that, on controversial issues — even stuff like homosexual rights, abortion, whatever — we debate with each other and persuade each other and vote on it."

Scalia said America decides such questions by majority rule - either through legislatures or constitutional amendments in the states. "(The) Bill of Rights was adopted by the majority," he said, "which is why it is proper in a democracy to have a Bill of Rights, because the majority adopted it." Scalia said our forefathers never included abortion or homosexual activism in the Bill of Rights. "Nobody ever thought that they had been included in the rights contained in the Bill of Rights," he said, "which is why abortion and homosexual sodomy were criminal for 200 years."

Scalia said it isn't the job of a judge — or the court — to decide if abortion or homosexual activism is a good idea or a bad idea. "It is my job to say whether the Bill of Rights have taken it out of the realm of democratic debate," the justice said. "Just because you feel strongly about it, it isn't necessarily in the Bill of Rights."

Taking a firm stance on religious freedom, Scalia said it was clear that, throughout our history, no one thought the Constitution's First Amendment prevented the government from fostering religious practice, or being favorable towards religion. "Our history is full of (appeals to religion)," Scalia told the lawyers. "The same Congress that proposed the First Amendment, directed George Washington to issue a proclamation of thanksgiving to God, 'for all His favors to the Republic.' "

In response to Strossen's defense of the ACLU's vision of the Constitution as a living — or evolving — document, Scalia said the question is whether we can live with an evolving Constitution. "Once you say it evolves and it doesn't depend on what the people thought they were doing when they adopted it, somebody's going to have to decide how it evolves," he said. "Why in the world would you want nine people from a very uncharacteristic class of society — to wit, lawyers — to decide how the Constitution evolves?

"It would mean whatever they think it ought to mean."

Did Scalia change any minds? Probably not, given the audience.
Today, the ACLU's Gay and Lesbian Rights Project said it will continue to press for same - sex marriage. While the lawyers did say they will file only a few challenges if voters in nine states enshrine the definition of marriage in their constitutions next month as the union of one man and one woman — that doesn't mean the group is changing its stance on gay marriage.

The goal now is to educate the nation on "the equality issue" — to try to create an atmosphere in which legal challenges in favor of same-sex marriage may eventually work. The plan is to train gay activists to take arguments in favor of same-sex marriage to every forum they can — from formal debates to presentations at the local Rotary or Kiwanis clubs. "People's attitudes change significantly for the better when they know a gay person, and . . . know what it's like to be gay," said the ACLU's Paul Cotes. "That's what we need to be doing, is having those conversations."

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said the announcement only goes to show the ACLU isn't about to give up pushing a liberal agenda. "They see the Constitution as something that they think the court should use to impose 'new and enlightened' values upon the American public," he said. Hausknecht added that it was good to see Scalia articulate for everyone why conservatives oppose the idea that the courts should be utilized to create "rights" that ought to be dealt with through the democratic process.