PRO-LIFE NEWS IN BRIEF

By Liz Townsend

 

Wisconsin Bill Protects Infants Born Alive after Abortion

The Wisconsin legislature approved a bill that would give full legal rights to babies who survive an abortion attempt. The bill now waits for the signature of Gov. Jim Doyle (D), who has not yet announced whether he will approve the bill.

"A baby born alive following an abortion is entitled to the same legal rights and protections as any other infant born alive," said Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life (WRL). "In approving this measure, the state legislature has established that the mother who seeks an abortion does not have an expanded 'right' to a dead baby."

Both houses of the legislature overwhelmingly passed the bill. The State Assembly approved it September 25 with a unanimous 95-0 vote, and the State Senate followed suit October 26 by 31-1.

"The Born Alive Infant Protection Act was supported by Assembly representatives on both sides of the abortion issue because they clearly saw that it does not deal with abortion, it deals with infanticide," said WRL Legislative Director Susan Armacost.

The statute demands that any baby who is born alive - - even one who was in the process of being aborted - - must be cared for and given medical treatment. It states that "whoever is born alive or undergoes a live birth as the result of an abortion ... has the same legal status and legal rights as a human being at any point after the human being is born alive or undergoes a live birth as the result of natural or induced labor or a cesarean section."

"We hope that Governor Doyle will extend the tremendous bipartisan support for the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by immediately signing this measure into law," said Lyons.

 

Abortion Clinic Accused of Hiding Abortion-Breast Cancer Link Settles Suit

A New Jersey abortionist and abortion clinic settled a lawsuit that accused them of denying a patient informed consent by not telling her about abortion's risks, including a greater risk of breast cancer.

The patient, a 17-year-old Pennsylvania girl known by the assumed name "Sarah," had an abortion in New Jersey, according to WorldNetDaily. Since her home state requires parental consent, her high school guidance counselor helped her obtain the abortion across state lines to evade the law. Sarah's parents have already won a lawsuit against the high school for interfering with their parental rights, WorldNetDaily reported.

Sarah and her parents sued Cherry Hill Women's Center and abortionist Charles Benjamin for violating the parental consent law and for failing to inform Sarah about the emotional and physical risks of abortion. Benjamin and the abortion clinic settled the lawsuit October 17, just before the trial was about to begin.

The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, but WorldNet Daily reported that the settlement would cover psychological counseling and future monitoring of Sarah's health and risk of breast cancer.

"This settlement will teach the medical establishment that it can no longer profit by keeping women in the dark about the breast cancer risk," Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/ Breast Cancer, said in a statement.

 

Officials Continue to Respond to Rock Band's Suicide Threat

Despite the fact that a suicide did not occur as promised at a concert given by a rock band called Hell on Earth, Florida officials continue to take action to make sure it will never happen in the future. State Sen. Les Miller has proposed a state law banning suicide as a form of public entertainment, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Sen. Miller's proposed legislation is supported by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. "I think if you don't have a statewide policy, then the people would just hop from one jurisdiction to another," Baker told the Times.

Because Florida had no state law specifically banning public suicides when the band announced that an unidentified person would kill him- or herself during an October 8 show, the St. Petersburg City Council and other local officials had to act quickly to prevent the onstage death. The proposed suicide was banned in the city and in Pinellas County, and the original show venue cancelled the date.

The band's lead singer announced that the suicide would be broadcast online October 8. However, the band's web site broke down that day, and there has never been any evidence that the suicide took place, according to the Times.

The suicide threat was covered in media outlets around the world. Journalists now wonder whether the entire incident was a hoax and whether they should have given it so much attention.

"Assisted suicide is a major issue ... it's a legitimate story," Bob Steele, an instructor on journalism ethics at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, told the Times. "What is problematic is when you have individuals who are turning the issues ... into a circus atmosphere for what would be their own warped purposes."

 

Fetal Surgery Provides Another Spina Bifida Success Story

Fetal surgery for spina bifida, the miraculous operation made famous by the photo of Samuel Armas's hand rising from the womb, is bringing hope and health to more and more children. One of these children, Angeline Marie Abreu of Hollywood, Florida, is featured in her own web site maintained by her parents, who have been updating her journey from diagnosis to birth to her life as a happy three-year-old.

The site, http://www.angeline-marie.com, is a personal journal of one family's experience with spina bifida and fetal surgery.

Spina bifida occurs when the spinal column fails to fuse properly, leaving a lesion (or opening) that is highly susceptible to infection. Left untreated, spina bifida can lead to leg paralysis, brain damage, or other problems. Often, hydrocephalus, a blockage in the brain that causes a build-up of spinal fluid, accompanies spina bifida.

Doctors diagnosed Angeline with spina bifida on February 25, 2000.

Angeline's parents, Emily Gonzalez-Abreu and Manny Abreu, went to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, the next week to see if doctors there could help Angeline. Samuel Armas also received his surgery at Vanderbilt.

The team led by Dr. Joseph Bruner and Dr. Noel Tulipan performed the surgery April 12, 24 weeks into the pregnancy. During the surgery, the doctors removed Angeline from her mother's womb, repaired the spinal cord lesion, and then placed her back into her mother to wait until birth.

The web site chronicles Emily's weeks of bed rest and monitoring, hoping that the delivery would occur as close to full term as possible. Angeline came into the world for the second time June 22, at 34 weeks' gestation. "I was there to see Angeline being born at 8:47 AM, crying and moving her legs," Manny Abreu wrote. "Everyone in the delivery room was so excited. It was history in the making, and we were all there."

Angeline has undergone some further surgery after birth, but she and her family have faced all the challenges with faith and courage. In the most recent web site update, Manny Abreu wrote that his daughter is enjoying preschool and church groups, and is "getting stronger every day."

"She brings so much happiness into our every day existence and she constantly reminds us what life is all about," he wrote. "She has grown so much, both physically and intellectually; so much that at times I find myself having 'mature' conversations with my three-year-old daughter. What a blessing has Angeline [been] to our lives!"

The Abreu family has been active in informing the public and members of Congress about spina bifida and seeking more funding for research into the condition.

"I wanted to be sure that the people in D.C. who are funding and writing new laws knew about spina bifida, too," Emily Gonzalez-Abreu told the newsletter Insights into Spina Bifida. "I wanted to make sure Angeline and other kids get their share of the pie."

The family also provides a living witness that a spina bifida diagnosis should not lead to abortion, as is too often the case. "From the first day when we saw our daughter's heart beating on the ultrasound monitor, Angeline became a real, living member of our family," her parents wrote on the web site. "Since then, we were committed to do anything humanly possible to improve her chances of having a better life."

 

Canadian House Passes Bill Allowing Embryo Research

The Canadian House of Commons voted 149-109 on October 28 to allow deadly research on human embryos created by in vitro fertilization. The bill now moves to the Senate.

The bill, called the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, would allow scientists to use embryos for research purposes until the 14th day of the embryo's development. The legislation sets out requirements for obtaining consent from the embryo's mother.

Pro-lifers in Canada have condemned the bill for endorsing the deaths of developing human beings. "Canadians have serious misgivings about this bill and with the ethical implications of taking human lives for research purposes," Jakki Jeffs, president of LifeCanada, said in a statement. "The extraction of the stem cells for research kills the developing human embryo. That is key. One can't just say this research holds promise for curing diseases. The ethical dilemma must be part of the discussion."

Supporters of the bill asserted that embryonic research is needed to treat many serious diseases, and that the "leftover" embryos would have been destroyed anyway.

However, pro-lifers insisted that there are many more promising areas of research being tested using adult stem cells, which are not obtained by killing human embryos. "Adult stem cells and cord blood have already produced successful results in humans, unlike embryonic stem cell research to date," Jeffs said. "Canadians understand there are serious ethical questions involved and their concerns should be respected."

 

Details of Nazis' Euthanasia Program Disclosed in Report

A new report offers chilling information about Adolf Hitler's program that killed about 275,000 physically and mentally disabled people. German historians meticulously examined Nazi documents and identified the first euthanasia victim: a five-month-old baby boy who was born blind.

Previously known only as "Case K," baby Gerhard Kretschmar can now be referred to by name, the London Sunday Telegraph reported. Baby Gerhard's parents wrote to Hitler in 1939 asking that they be allowed to kill the baby.

Testimony about Gerhard's death was given during the war crimes trials in Nuremberg after the war. "The father of a deformed child wrote to the Fuhrer with a request to be allowed to take the life of this child or this creature," Hitler's personal doctor Karl Brandt told the court, according to the Telegraph. "Hitler ordered me to take care of this case. The child had been born blind, seemed to be idiotic, and a leg and parts of the arm were missing."

Gerhard was given the drug luminal, which killed him after three to five days, the Telegraph reported. One month after Gerhard died, the German Interior Ministry officially began the program to rid the nation of anyone considered less than perfect.

Most of the victims were forcibly removed from their families and killed, according to the Telegraph. Their deaths, including Gerhard's, were usually officially recorded as "heart failure."

The historians were able to compile names and case details of 200,000 victims of this program. It is estimated that the total death count was about 275,000, according to the Telegraph.

The euthanasia program was "a warning to society and to the scientific community that it's a very slippery slope when you start putting different values on human life," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, told the Associated Press. "Of course, with the Nazi regime it was a combination of racism but also with the enthusiastic backing of the scientific community who saw mentally ill and physically disabled people as cannon fodder for their pseudoscientific research in the name of the great Aryan race."