News in Brief
Life” License Plates Now in 24 States
and Missouri have joined 22 other states in offering specialty
“Choose Life” license plates that benefit crisis pregnancy centers.
Virginia’s pro-abortion Gov. Tim Kaine signed legislation approving
the plates March 30, while on March 27 a federal appeals court
upheld a judge’s ruling allowing the Missouri tags to be issued.
Previously vetoed by pro-abortion former governor, now senator, Mark
Warner in 2003, legislation authorizing the Virginia license plate
was approved by the state House and Senate once again in February.
Virginia requires 350 orders before the specialty plate can be
produced; pro-life Sen. Ken Cuccinelli told the Associated Press
(AP) that at least 450 people have already sent in pre-orders.
license plates cost $25 per year. While the state keeps all proceeds
from the first 1,000 plates, after that $15 of each fee will be
distributed by Heartbeat International to pro-life groups that help
women in crisis pregnancies, the AP reported.
will guarantee that more women will receive responsible assistance
and information about adoption and other help when making a decision
about a difficult pregnancy,” said Olivia Gans, president of the
Virginia Society for Human Life.
Pro-abortion groups expressed outrage that Kaine, currently serving
as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, would sign the
bill. They derided crisis pregnancy centers as “deceptive
non-medical establishments,” as the director of public policy for
The Virginia League for Planned Parenthood told the AP.
Kaine issued a statement depicting the license plates as a voluntary
expression of free speech. “I sign this legislation today in keeping
with the Commonwealth’s longtime practice of approving specialty
plates with all manner of political and social messages,” according
to the statement. “Furthermore, if Planned Parenthood—an
organization that is already a recipient of state budget funds—or
another similar organization ever chooses to seek a specialty
license plate in Virginia, I believe the Constitution would require
the state to approve that plate to protect against any viewpoint
of speech was also the basis of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals’ ruling in the Missouri case. The appeals court upheld U.S.
District Judge Scott Wright’s January 2008 decision calling the
state’s procedure for issuing the plates unconstitutional. The
“Choose Life” plates were distributed to about 170 drivers in
February, the AP reported, and the program will continue after the
latest court ruling.
the ‘Choose Life’ plate is different from the standard Missouri
license plate,” the appeals court wrote, “a reasonable observer
would understand that the vehicle owner took the initiative to
purchase the specialty plate and is voluntarily communicating his or
her own message, not the message of the state.”
15-Year-Old Dies after Abortion
Discharged by an abortion clinic without being given antibiotics,
15-year-old Alesha Thomas of Huddersfield, England, died five days
later from a heart attack caused by a severe infection, according to
the London Times.
Roger Whittaker called for the Leeds clinic, run by pro-abortion
group Marie Stopes International, to change its policies, The
15 weeks pregnant, aborted her child in July 2007. Abortionist Peter
Paku issued a prescription for the antibiotic Doxycycline one hour
and 20 minutes after the abortion, intending for Thomas to take the
medication to prevent infection, according to the Daily Mail.
However, clinic staff had already released Thomas after only 45
minutes without checking to see if any follow-up care was needed.
happened many times,” Paku said at the inquest, the Daily Mail
reported. “Prescriptions would be forgotten many times and we would
have to make arrangements.”
days later, Thomas’s mother Rose Bent called a Marie Stopes
helpline, concerned because her daughter had stomach cramps and
heavy bleeding. Thomas was told only to take ibuprofen. Her
condition deteriorated, however, and five days after the abortion
she was unable to move her legs and became unresponsive, according
to the Times.
ambulance on the way to the hospital, Thomas suffered a fatal heart
attack, the Times reported. Her death, ruled as the result of toxic
shock syndrome, could have been prevented.
had had the drugs administered to her,” Whittaker said at the
inquest, “the balance of probability suggests she would have been
more able to survive than die, which makes it all the more hard for
her family in these circumstances.”
March for Life
of thousands of Spanish pro-lifers marched March 29 in cities across
the country to protest proposed laws that would weaken protections
for unborn babies. Organizers of the rallies estimated that 500,000
people showed their support for life, according to Agence France-Presse
government wants to approve a free abortion law that leaves the
unborn completely unprotected,” Gador Joya of the group Right to
Life told those gathered in Madrid, AFP reported. The law “will only
lead to more deaths and more suffering by thousands of women. We
demand that our laws protect the right to live and to be a mother.”
Spanish law allows abortion up to 12 weeks in cases of rape, to 22
weeks if the unborn baby has a birth defect, and anytime if the
physical or mental health of the woman is threatened. As in the
United States, the definition of “health” is interpreted broadly by
many clinics, which “perform more than 100,000 abortions a year,”
according to The Guardian.
Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government has proposed
weakening the current law by allowing abortion on demand up to 14
weeks and to 22 weeks with a doctor’s certificate, The Guardian
reported. The proposal would also permit abortions for minors over
the age of 16 without parental consent.
Participants in the marches, which were organized by various
pro-life groups, included people from all walks of life, from senior
citizens to young families pushing babies in strollers, according to
AFP. The rallies were supported by the Catholic Church, which has
begun its own nationwide campaign against abortion. The campaign
features a poster that reads, “Protect the lynx,” a protected
species in Spain, along with a baby asking, “And me?”
European pro-lifers expressed support for their Spanish
counterparts. “The Spanish marches help us to remember that we are
not alone,” John Smeaton, director of Britain’s Society for the
Protection of Unborn Children, wrote on his blog. “A powerful,
peaceful, prayerful pro-life resistance (and, I believe, prayer)
will, in time, roll back the culture of death, and the truth about
human life will be seen clearly. So congratulations to the Spanish
Group May “Help” Healthy Woman Commit Suicide
founder of Swiss euthanasia group Dignitas told BBC Radio 4’s The
Report that he plans to “help” a healthy woman commit suicide
alongside her ill husband.
a couple living in Canada, the husband is ill, his partner is not
ill but she told us here in my living room that ‘if my husband goes,
I would go at the same time with him,’” said Ludwig Minelli on the
April 2 broadcast. “We will now probably go to the courts in order
to clear this question.”
1,000 people have died under the supervision of Dignitas, according
to the Daily Mail. This includes citizens of other countries who
travel to Switzerland to take advantage of vague Swiss laws
regarding assisted suicide.
told the BBC that there should be no restrictions on assisted
suicide and that terminal illness, as stipulated in most euthanasia
laws around the world, should not be required before a person can be
“helped” to die.
suicide is a marvellous marvellous possibility given to a human
being,” he told the radio program. “Suicide is a very good
possibility to escape a situation which you can’t alter. It is not a
condition to have a terminal illness.”
while Minelli was advocating expansion of his client base, Swiss
authorities began an investigation based on testimony from a former
assistant, the Daily Mail reported. Soraya Wernli claimed that
Minelli often collected much more than the usual £7,000 fee,
receiving £120,000 from one suicidal person. Wernli added that
Minelli would also sell jewelry and other possessions after the
person died, according to the Daily Mail.
officials are considering tightening the country’s assisted suicide
law, the BBC reported. A medical ethics commission has recommended
“longer assessments, and tougher appraisals of psychiatric patients
wishing to kill themselves, and of couples in apparent suicide
pacts,” according to the BBC.
this very strange situation of having a practice without
regulation,” commission president Christoph Rehman Sutter told the
BBC. “There is no regulation at the moment.”
British Physicians Reject Assisted Suicide
majority of British physicians said that do not support euthanasia
and assisted suicide, according to a study published in the March 25
issue of Palliative Medicine. While only 34% said they supported
euthanasia and 35% approved of physician-assisted suicide, the
doctors did admit to giving “a drug with the explicit intention of
speeding death” to one in 200 patients, according to The Guardian.
statistically this is only 0.51% of deaths, the Society for the
Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) points out that it means that
2,500 British citizens died with the direct “help” of their doctor.
to truly safeguard patients,” said Paul Tully, SPUC’s general
secretary, “what is needed in the UK is wider understanding of the
pain control available, and the rewriting of recent pro-euthanasia
legislation and protocols to make clear that intentional killing is
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London surveyed 3,700
British doctors along with the general public. Physicians were much
less likely to support euthanasia, while 82% of the public said they
approved of the legalization of euthanasia and 62% backed
physician-assisted suicide, according to The Guardian.
research shows stark differences between public opinion and that of
doctors,” study author Professor Clive Seale said in a press
release. “Elsewhere in the world, opposition among doctors has been
a major factor in preventing the legalisation of euthanasia or
Pro-euthanasia British legislators have been attempting to weaken
the laws against the practice. A recent proposal to remove sanctions
against people who take friends and relatives to other countries for
assisted suicide failed to make it through Parliament, the Daily
Charged with Forcing Daughter’s Abortion
in Miramar, Florida, allegedly forced her 16-year-old daughter to
take abortifacient drugs and disposed of her grandchild in the trash
after the unborn baby was delivered into a toilet. Tonuya Rainey,
38, faces charges of “termination of a pregnancy, practicing
healthcare without a license, child abuse and improper disposal of
human remains,” according to the Miami Herald.
bail was initially set at $14,000 after she was arrested March 19.
However, Broward County Judge John Hurley intervened the next day
and raised bail to $185,000, saying that the alleged crime warranted
a higher amount.
believe that what has allegedly occurred is tantamount to murder,”
Hurley said at the bond hearing, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
reported. “I’ve handled murder cases in here. I have handled sex
cases. I’ve handled everything. This is it, this is the pinnacle. I
have never been so disturbed.”
and her daughter, whose name is being withheld because of her age,
gave police different accounts of the events. According to the
16-year-old, her mother did not want her to have the baby and made
her take pills obtained from an abortion clinic. The girl, who said
she was 24 weeks pregnant, told investigators “she experienced
severe cramps, then at 3 a.m. on March 6 gave birth while seated on
a toilet. She said she lay the infant on a bed and saw him breathing
and his arms moving,” according to the Sun-Sentinel.
however, said the baby was not alive after the delivery, and told
police that she “placed the fetus in a bag and set it out with her
garbage for curbside pickup,” the Herald reported.
attorneys protested to an appeals court, the bail amount was
reinstated to $14,000 March 29. Rainey was released on bond, and her
daughter is in foster care, according to the Herald.
Investigation into Abortionist Tiller Continues
medical board is investigating notorious abortionist George Tiller
for several violations of the law, despite a March 27 jury verdict
that found him not guilty of similar misconduct, the Associated
Press (AP) reported.
Kansas State Board of Healing Arts is looking into allegations that
include “performing an abortion on a fetus that was viable without
having a documented referral from another physician not legally or
financially affiliated with him; unprofessional or dishonorable
conduct or professional incompetency; and commitment of acts likely
to deceive, defraud or harm the public,” according to a board press
performs late-term abortions in his Wichita, Kansas, clinic. For
abortions after 21 weeks, Kansas law states that “an abortion can
still be performed but the abortionist must get another doctor to
sign off on the fact that she needs the abortion to avoid
substantial and irreversible damage to her ‘bodily’ health. ‘Bodily’
is interpreted to include both mental and physical health,”
according to the Kansans for Life web site. The second doctor is
supposed to be completely independent from the abortionist.
charges against Tiller involved his relationship with the doctor who
provided the second signature for late abortions, Dr. Ann Kristin
Neuhaus. Prosecutors alleged that Neuhaus “essentially functioned as
Tiller’s employee,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “She saw his
patients at his office, and on his schedule. Also, in 2003, Tiller’s
patients provided her with her only income.”
a six-member jury found Tiller not guilty on all charges, according
to the AP. That same day, the Board of Healing Arts made public a
complaint that was filed in December.
the financial relationship between Tiller and Neuhaus that violated
the independent physician requirement, pro-lifers contend that
authorities should examine if the abortions were in fact done to
prevent “substantial and irreversible damage” to the woman.