Copyright © 1997 AFLM
May/June, 1997 Volume XII Number 6 - DEPARTMENTS
Presbyterian Church (USA) group votes -- barely -- to retain "marital fidelity" and "chastity in single people"
On February 23, the Lincoln Journal Star reported that the Presbyterian Church (USA),the mother denomination of Westminster Presbyterian Church which was picketed by anti-abortion activists on that very day, had voted to continue requiring "marital fidelity" and "chastity in single people" as requirements for church leaders.
The vote was 65-52.
The regional presbytery, Homestead Presbytery represent members of the denomination in southeast and central Nebraska.
"Is it really controversial to require church leaders to remain faithful to their spouses?" asked Larry Donlan of Rescue the Heartland. Donlan, who was outside Westminster Presbyterian Church at the time picketing because an abortionist, Winston Crabb, is a church leader there, said that the morning report of the vote reported in the Lincoln Journal Star, "made my job easier."
Some objections were raised to the amendment, which was also submitted to each of the 172 presbyteries of the denomination nationwide. The amendment, which barely passed, would prohibit practicing sodomites from serving as pastors as well as fornicators and adulterers. More than half of the presbyteries must pass the amendment before it becomes law for the denomination.
"It is amazing that the questions raised in the amendment would bring such a close vote," said Donlan.
Firebomb attempt fails
North Hollywood, CA -- Federal authorities say a small fire in a North Hollywood, California, abortion clinic on March 7 was started by a firebomb.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said that a container and traces of flammable liquid found inside the building are consistent with materials found at other Southern California abortion clinics targeted by arsonists.
Family Planning Associates Medical Group administrators wouldn't comment on the incident, which is being investigated by the FBI, BATF, the Los Angeles Fire Department arson squad and police.
Fire Department spokesman Bob Collis said no one was injured by the blaze that caused about $1,000 damage. The fire was out by the time firefighters arrived at the clinic shortly before 4 a.m.
The Feminist Majority Foundation in Los Angeles responded to the incident by urging clinics throughout Southern California to increase security because "we fear this is the beginning of an escalation."
Two years ago, arsonists set fires at a number of abortion clinics in Southern California, including ones in San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Santa Barbara.
Supreme Court rules against "floating bubble zones"
Washington, D.C. -- Anti-abortion demonstrators have a free-speech right to confront clinic patients and staffers up close on public streets and sidewalks as long as they stay more than 15 feet away from the specific clinics named in the injunction, the Supreme Court has ruled.
In splintered voting, the court struck down a federal judge's order that had kept most demonstrators at abortion clinics in the Buffalo and Rochester, New York, areas 15 feet away from any patient or staff member.
The court said that a "floating bubble zone" -- on public byways -- violates demonstrators' free-speech rights, as guaranteed by the Constitution's First Amendment.
But the court upheld a fixed buffer zone that keeps demonstrators at least 15 feet away from clinic doorways, driveways and driveway entrances. This applies only to those clinics covered by the New York injunction.
The court also upheld a part of the federal judge's order requiring sidewalk counselors who approach patients within the fixed buffer zones to retreat when patients indicate a desire not to be counseled.
In the abortion ruling, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote: "We strike down the floating buffer zones around people entering and leaving the clinics because they burden more speech than is necessary to serve the relevant government interests. The floating buffer zones prevent defendants -- except for two sidewalk counselors while they are tolerated by the targeted individual -- from communicating a message from a normal conversational distance or handing leaflets to people entering or leaving the clinics who are walking on the public sidewalks."
"Leafleting and commenting on matters of public concern are classic forms of speech that lie at the heart of the First Amendment," he said.
Karen Swallow Prior, an organizer of 1992 anti-abortion protests in Buffalo, rejoiced and said, "The ruling basically says that pro-lifers have the same First Amendment rights that the rest of Americans do."
But Marilyn Buckham, executive director of the Buffalo, New York, GYN Womenservices, one of four abortion clinics where anti-abortion protests were held in 1992, also claimed victory.
"They upheld the buffer zone, which is the heart of this case. It is gratifying because it says to us the Supreme Court understood the question and there is common sense in the Constitution. We're thrilled," she said.
The vote was 8-1 to strike down as unconstitutional the floating buffer zones. All but Justice Stephen G. Breyer joined that part of Rehnquist's opinion.
The court's vote to uphold as constitutional the fixed 15-foot buffer zone around clinic entrances and parking lots was 6-3. Rehnquist was joined in that part of his opinion by Justices Breyer, John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas voted to strike down all of the judge's order.
Anti-abortion groups such as Operation Rescue, Project Rescue Western New York and Project Life of Rochester were named as defendants in the original court action. But the Supreme Court case was triggered by an appeal filed in behalf of just two individuals -- Dwight Saunders and Paul Schenck.
Saunders is a lawyer from Williamsville, New York, Schenck, a Reformed Episcopal Church minister, lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and also works for the American Center for Law and Justice, founded by Pat Robertson.
Atlanta bombs: "Army of God" connection to bomb discounted -- connection to D&X explored
Atlanta, GA -- U.S. officials said on February 27 that they were skeptical about the authenticity of an anonymous letter claiming responsibility for the bombings of an Atlanta abortion clinic and a sodomite nightclub.
The handwritten letter, sent to Reuters, NBC and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, claimed credit on behalf of the Army of God, a shadowy -- probably non-existent -- militant Christian group that advocates violence against abortion clinics and their staffs.
The letter writer invited the FBI to confirm details about the makeup of the bombs and pointed out specific differences in the devices used in each attack.
But Bobby Browning, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), said forensic experts have called the letter into question because of details that might have been listed but were not.
"The letter has omitted some details that would only be familiar to the bomber. So, there is healthy skepticism about the letter," Browning said.
"Hate crime" experts also have expressed doubt that the anonymous letter claiming responsibility for two recent Atlanta bombings had been the work of the Army of God, as the letter stated.
"My feeling is the Army of God hasn't been that much of a factor. All of a sudden for them to appear out of nowhere is kind of surprising. It doesn't quite all seem to fit," said Jay Kaiman, Atlanta director of the Anti-Defamation League.
About a dozen people were injured in the two bombings. A total of five bombs have exploded in Atlanta in the past seven months.
On January 16, a bomb exploded outside the Northside Family Planning Services center in the suburb of Sandy Springs (Life Advocate, March 1997). No one was hurt in the blast. But a second device, hidden in a corner of the parking lot, injured at least six people, mainly rescue workers and law enforcement agents.
However, the FBI is investigating the relationship between the owner of a bombed sodomite nightclub and her late brother, a doctor who pioneered the so-called partial-birth abortion technique and was the target of hate mail and protests.
The FBI said that it is looking into the history of abortionist James McMahon and his sister, Beverly McMahon, but it would not elaborate. A nail-laden bomb exploded Friday at Ms. McMahon's sodomite club, The Otherside Lounge, injuring five people.
McMahon in 1983 helped develop what he called a "safer method of abortion" for women in the late stages of pregnancy. It is technically called intact dilation and extraction or intact dilation and evacuation but has been widely criticized by abortion opponents as "partial-birth abortions."
In other related news, the number of fake bomb threats has soared over the past year in Atlanta, which also has been hit by four real bomb blasts that included the deadly Olympic Park attack.
During January 1996, police recorded 17 phony bomb threats, followed by 11 in February. This year, there were 53 in January and 59 in February, police said.
"It's a continuing trend, and it's not likely to go away real quickly," police spokesman John Quigley said.
He said the callers are pranksters, extremists or people with a grudge out to create fright or havoc.
Man attempts clinic torching
Falls Church, VA -- A man charged in March in an abortion clinic fire told a federal agent he believes abortion is akin to Nazi genocide.
James A. Mitchell, 38, "feels no guilt" about setting the American Women's Clinic ablaze on Tuesday night, said the agent, J. Thomas Perambo of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Mitchell said he started the fire "because he believes abortion is wrong, that lives are being lost much as they were in Nazi death camps," according to Perambo's warrant.
If convicted with arson under a federal law protecting abortion clinics, Mitchell faces up to 10 years in prison. State burglary charges were also filed against Mitchell, who was held pending a hearing. Mitchell is a former rescuer.
The fire damaged files, an office and a laboratory on the first floor, but did not damage expensive medical equipment one floor above.
"He threw these files about -- whatever appeared to be flammable in here -- and then he lit it," said Wayne Codding, director of the clinic also known as the Commonwealth Women's Clinic.
"He started by breaking almost all the windows, and then he came inside, broke down doors, and started the fire," Codding said as he stood in a blackened hallway strewn with singed and sodden papers.
Mitchell was arrested by police as he left the building. Officers said they could see the flames behind him.
The clinic in this Washington suburb is the site of weekly anti-abortion demonstrations and a fire was started behind the clinic in 1994.
Rochester, NY -- A man hired as a nurse's aide despite a lengthy history of sexual misconduct was convicted of raping a comatose patient who later gave birth.
It is the only known case of someone getting pregnant and having a baby in a chronic vegetative state.
After seven days of testimony, a jury deliberated four hours before finding John Horace, 53, guilty of raping and sexually abusing the 29-year-old woman, who was severely injured in a 1985 car wreck.
Horace showed no emotion as the verdict was read, but relatives of the victim gasped and cried softly. He could get up to 25 years in prison at his sentencing on March 27.
"He chose the most vulnerable among us, a woman struck down in her prime, a patient entrusted to his care," prosecutor Jerry Solomon said in closing arguments.
Horace worked for just five weeks at a suburban nursing home where the woman had been a patient for six months. He was fired in mid-September 1995 for another attack: fondling a 49-year-old patient with multiple sclerosis.
It was at least the fourth time Horace was forced out of a health-care job since 1982. In his first day at The Genesee Hospital in October 1994, he was fired for allegedly propositioning a mentally ill patient.
Because no one pressed charges in any of the cases, his history of abuse did not show up in his employment record when he was hired by Westfall Health Care Center in August 1995.
Horace, a tall, elegant, fastidiously groomed man, had begun posing as a sex therapist for at least six months before joining Westfall, offering in ads to perform gynecological exams at his home.
He pleaded guilty last spring to impersonating a doctor and offering examinations without a license and drew six months in prison.
For law-enforcement and health-care authorities, the case highlighted a largely unrecognized problem: the vulnerability of nursing-home patients to abuse.
"We ought to know more about the people we're entrusting our loved ones to," said state Attorney General Dennis Vacco, who was there when the verdict was read. "Horace should never have been employed" by Westfall.
The pregnancy was four months along before it was discovered. The woman's Roman Catholic family ruled out an abortion and her mother chose to raise the boy, now 11 months old, rather than put him up for adoption.
Pro-life appeal refused by Supreme Court
Washington, D.C. -- Anti- abortion demonstrators who say they wrongly are prohibited from getting too close to a Vallejo, California, abortion clinic lost a Supreme Court appeal.
The justices, by a 6-3 vote, let stand a state court order that keeps all abortion protests across a four-lane road from the clinic.
That order had been upheld by the California Supreme Court.
The 1991 permanent injunction was challenged by Christine Williams and Citizens for Life, an anti-abortion group that sponsors clinic demonstrations.
In the appeal acted on, lawyers for Williams and Citizens for Life argued that a "speech-free zone" wrongly has been created outside the clinic.
The appeal, which had been pending before the justices since October of 1995, argued that the state Supreme Court ruling "amounts to a license to close off the public sidewalk to one side of the abortion debate."
"Those who dare to defend their rights ... face the prospect of having to pay ruinous attorneys' fees if they are not successful," the appeal added.
The nation's highest court recently used a case from New York to bolster the free-speech rights of anti-abortion demonstrators.
In that ruling, the court struck down "floating bubble zones" around abortion clinic patients and staff members, and upheld "fixed bubble zones" around clinic entrances.
Lawyers for the Planned Parenthood Shasta-Diablo clinic in Vallejo urged the justices to reject the abortion protesters' appeal.
They said protesters had carried out "a pattern of harassment and intimidation of (the clinic's) patients and staff."
The Planned Parenthood lawyers contended that the injunction was based on past conduct, not speech or other expressive activity.
The court action was not a decision but merely a denial of review.
Justice Antonin Scalia, in an opinion joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas, dissented from the court's order.
"This is a record so devoid of threatening physical confrontation it would make an old-fashioned union organizer blush," Scalia wrote. "Yet the trial court entered -- and the Supreme Court of California approved -- an injunction severely curtailing the speech rights of clinic protesters in a public forum."
Tiller, as money-contributing "Friend of Bill" gets special protection
Washington, D.C. -- Abortionist George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, has received daily, round-the-clock personal protection by U.S. Marshals for more than 30 months running. He also contributed more than $25,000 to the Democratic National Committee's efforts to reelect President Bill Clinton. This apparently also entitled Tiller to one of the White House "coffees."
The protection that U.S. marshals afforded a Kansas, third-trimester abortion specialist had nothing to do with his political donations to Democrats, administration officials said.
The marshals have protected Tiller and his Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas, due to what local law enforcement officials viewed as threats to the facility, said Bill Dempsey, spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service.
Any suggestion that the security was connected to Tiller's political contributions is "crazy," Dempsey said. "We have been working on this problem of security at the clinics for a couple of years now."
The Wichita clinic is one of the few in the country that performs abortions in the third trimester and has long been a target for anti-abortion protests.
"Dr. Tiller believes the Justice Department of the Clinton administration saved his life," said the abortionist's spokesman, Peggy Jarman. "He was absolutely a target."
Tiller and his wife, Jeanne, also gave $13,795 to a variety of candidates, including Kansas Democratic congressional hopefuls and Clinton's re-election campaign, according to federal records.
Free Bibles provoke a legal battle
Buckhannon, WV -- A stack of Bibles on a table in a West Virginia school is ground zero in the latest legal battle over separation of church and state.
They're making a federal case over the Bibles, which were donated by businesses to be provided free to school children in Buckhannon, West Virginia. Opponents say it could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Bible giveaway is the work of the J. Edward McDaniels, pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in Buckhannon and a health and physical education teacher at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, who remembers that when he was in the fifth grade the Gideons came into his classroom handing out Bibles to anyone who wanted one.
Between McDaniels' childhood and adulthood, federal courts in Indiana and New Jersey ruled it is unconstitutional to distribute Bibles in public schools. The rulings are not binding in every state, but many school districts abide by them.
"I object to the fact that the Gideons are not allowed to do that, but that's a fight that's bigger than me," McDaniels says.
So McDaniels recruited businesses to donate the books, then asked the Upshur County school board for permission to set up an unstaffed table providing free religious material. Students would be free to stop or pass on by.
McDaniels saw it as a logical compromise. In December 1994, the school board agreed.
But Jeannie O'Halloran of Buckhannon was among those who objected.
"I was appalled. It just didn't feel right," she says. "I don't think Bibles need to be distributed in school."
O'Halloran is a Quaker and her children get their religion at home.
"Religion definitely should start at home, not in the schools," she says.
She and others turned to the American Civil Liberties Union chapter in West Virginia, and plaintiffs were recruited for a lawsuit to stop the giveaway.
U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley in Clarksburg, West Virginia, ruled last September that Bibles could be given out on school property provided they were not forced on students. School officials had to post a disclaimer saying they didn't endorse the practice of religion.
It was the first time a federal court had upheld access to Bibles in a public school during school hours.
Last fall, children in 12 schools took home about 1,800 Bibles.
The giveaway touched off a legal battle that has been fought in other courtrooms around the country. This time it could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
"It definitely has the potential," says Steve Green, legal director for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C., a 50,000-member group that opposes religious activities in schools.
"The earlier cases were a lot clearer. This is hazier and a closer question. And those are the kinds the court takes."
But first, there will be a decision this spring in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, binding on West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and North and South Carolina.
"Many school administrators would see this as a middle ground, a way to get people off their backs without crossing the line," Green says. "Line-drawing is what we're all about. Where we feel the line should be drawn is the front door of the schools."
Americans United is among three national organizations that filed friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union last month in Richmond, Virginia, where the appeals court is located.
"They had businesses who donated Bibles and wanted to distribute them. And they had students who wanted them. Great. Put them together," says Hilary Chiz, director of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. "But don't do it in the schools. Use the churches. There are more churches than schools in Upshur County, anyway."
The dispute pits two constitutional rights against each other: the right to practice religion and speak freely of it, and the mandatory separation of church and state. In this case, the schools are the extension of government.
Siding with the school district are the conservative American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) of Richmond, and the Rutherford Institute of Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Rutherford Institute is a private, nonprofit organization formed in 1982 to defend religious freedom of expression. It takes on cases around the world, defending the rights of Christians, Muslims and Jews, to name a few, to practice their religions without discrimination or oppression. It receives donations from about 65,000 individuals and groups a year.
Institute attorney David Melton says the courts have ruled that school officials cannot participate in or sanction Bible giveaways.
"This is a closer question," he said of the Upshur case. "The school wanted to be neutral."
Melton says the plaintiffs' goal is to remove all traces of religion from public schools.
"The purpose of the Constitution is to place restraints on government, not the individual," he says. "The ACLU is trying to silence the religious community. They, in this case, are the ones who are attempting to ban a book."
Federal courts have ruled that students can give Bibles and religious literature to each other. And anyone can legally distribute materials in public areas such as malls, parking lots or the sidewalks outside schools.
MasterCard gives pro-lifers "credit"
Groups championing everything from the environment to Elvis have their own credit cards. A New Jersey anti-abortion group says it is now the first of its kind to join the ranks.
The New Jersey Right to Life MasterCard, issued by Steel Valley Bank of Ohio, sends a small contribution to the organization every time a member uses it.
The group joins thousands of organizations nationwide, from the Sierra Club to The Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation, to offer "affinity" credit cards.
But while any organization with a large enough membership base can qualify for a card of its own, getting one proved to be a difficult task for a group involved in such a controversial cause.
"There's a fear factor when it comes to groups such as ourselves," said William S. Leib Sr., treasurer for New Jersey Right to Life and a vice president for the New York City branch of the Bank of Boston. "It's almost impossible for us to overcome."
Leib, who relied on his experience and networking with other bankers to find an issuer for his group's card, said that groups on both sides of the abortion issue have been trying to get cards for years without success.
"(The bankers) have never taken the time to explore what we're about. ... They're missing an opportunity because they refuse to educate themselves to the possibilities," he said.
Leib would not comment on how many of the group's 75,000 members have gotten the card in the year and a half it's been available to them, but he said he hopes it will help boost the group's revenues.
"Given time, we're hoping it will supplant all other fund-raising," Leib said.
Steel Valley Bank has other affinity accounts with organizations ranging from animal rights groups to local 4-H clubs and saw no reason to reject New Jersey Right to Life, said Chris George, a vice president of the Tiltonsville, Ohio-based bank.
"It's discriminatory if we don't take them," he said.
But Michael Auriemma, president of a Westbury, New York-based firm that does consulting for the credit card industry, doesn't see the reluctance to get involved with controversial groups ending soon.
"I'm surprised that this group got a card. Banks tend to be conservative," he said. "I don't think it would happen a lot, it's too much of a headache."
Auriemma also questioned how successful such cards might be.
"People may not want to walk around plunking down this card saying `I'm am activist,'" he said. "What if the person on the other side of the counter thinks differently and it just leads to arguments?"
If the New Jersey group's card proves successful, expect a trend to develop, said Ruth Susswein, executive director of the Bankcard Holders of America consumer group.
Though affinity cards have become a lucrative business, people who get one with the intention of helping an organization might be hurting themselves as consumers, said Bob Heady, founder of Bank Rate Manager, a North Palm Beach, Florida-based organization that tracks interest rate trends for consumers.
"Affinity cards are generally not the lowest-cost cards on the market," he said. "If you want to give, you might be better off getting the lowest (cost) card you can find and giving the money you save directly to your group."
Abortion foe tries to set abortion doctor's office on fire
Bozeman, MT -- Abortion foe John Yankowski was arrested on a felony arson charge for allegedly setting fire to the roof of the Medical Arts Center where an abortionist works.
Four fires were set on the roof of the one-story "low-rise" about 2:50 a.m., said Chuck Winn, the Bozeman Fire Department's fire marshal, who was on the scene. The Medical Arts Center includes a low-rise and a high-rise structure.
Bozeman police and fire departments, the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are investigating the blaze, Winn said.
Federal, as well as state, laws protect abortion clinics and people who work in them.
Abortionist Susan Wicklund runs the Mountain Country Women's Clinic in the Medical Arts Center and anti-abortion activists have picketed outside the building for years.
Bozeman Detective Sgt. Bill Dove said Rocky Mountain Security guard Tim Colvin was walking around the building when he saw smoke, flames and a man on the roof. Colvin notified authorities.
Five fire engines and a ladder truck responded. Winn said it took about five minutes to knock down the flames. Firemen had to cut into the roof to make sure the fire hadn't spread.
"If it had gotten (into the hollow, false roof), we would have had a very significant structure fire," Winn said.
Orthodox rabbis denounce Reform and Conservative Jews for "alien ideology"
New York, NY -- A group of angry Orthodox rabbis has accused Reform and Conservative Jews of first misleading American believers, then exporting their "alien ideology" to Israel.
The 600-member Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada declared that the Reform and Conservative branches "are not Judaism at all."
The declaration was denounced by Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis who said the union reflects only the fringes of Jewish thought in America.
Having been "led to believe by heretical leaders that Reform and Conservative are legitimate branches" of Judaism, the New York-based union said, America's non-Orthodox Jews are now trying "to export their alien ideology to Israel."
Defining who is a Jew is crucial to an Israeli law that makes any Jew eligible for citizenship. Israel's parliament is considering a bill that would invalidate conversions performed inside Israel by Reform and Conservative rabbis; conversions by such rabbis are now recognized if performed outside the country.
Orthodox rabbis already control conversions in Israel, where the other two movements are tiny, and the bill would simply put that monopoly into law.
The Israeli bill was among promises Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had made to ultra-Orthodox parties to coax them into his government coalition.
The Union also accused the Reform and Conservative branches of condoning Jewish assimilation and intermarriage. The Union opposes non-Orthodox conversions and homosexuality as "repugnant not only to Torah Judaism, but also to common morality."
Rabbi Hersh Ginsberg, acting chairman of the Union's executive board, said his fellow rabbis oppose exhibits showing that gays were exterminated in Nazi death camps, including one in the Holocaust museum in Washington.
The Union, founded in 1902, insists that "there is only one Judaism: Torah Judaism," defined as laws God gave Moses on Mount Sinai that should not be changed.
Orthodox rabbis have long refused to recognize marriages, burials and conversions made by Reform and Conservative rabbis.
Catholic bishop puts money where mouth is
Glasgow, SCOTLAND -- The leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics sparked fresh controversy about abortion on March 9 when he offered financial help to persuade women not to terminate a pregnancy.
Cardinal Thomas Winning made the offer at a conference in Glasgow organized by the anti-abortion group, the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC).
The outspoken anti-abortion campaigner posed for photographers with an infant in his arms, said abortion could not be justified, and promised to help any woman or couple who needed assistance regardless of their religion or background.
"If you need financial assistance or help with equipment for your baby or feel that financial pressures would force you to have an abortion we will help," he told the society, speaking on the day Britain celebrates as Mother's Day.
Shortly after the bishop made his announcement the church said a supporter had pledged 50,000 pounds ($80,280) to the campaign.
The cardinal's move could push abortion, not traditionally a front-line issue, onto the top of the political agenda in the weeks ahead of Britain's general election in May.
Last October, Winning attacked opposition Labour leader Tony Blair, tipped to be the next prime minister, for privately opposing abortion but publicly backing women's right to choose.
Parishioners and anti-abortion groups supported the cardinal's move but pro-choice organizations condemned it.
"It's quite clearly a cynical Mother's Day ploy that is no more than one would expect from an anti-abortion group," Helen Axby, a spokesman for the Marie Stopes Clinic.
Another pro-choice group accused Winning of putting unfair pressure on women. "Nobody wants to have an abortion and the decision is only taken after much heart-searching," said Jane Rowe, a spokeswoman for the Abortion Law Reform Association which campaigns for abortion on demand in the first three months of pregnancy.
"All the church will be doing is getting women through a difficult patch and then dumping them," she said.
Britain passed a law permitting doctors to give abortions 30 years ago and polls show 64 percent of people now believe women should be allowed to choose whether to terminate their pregnancies, 10 percentage points more than in 1967.
A Pro-Life Alliance has promised to field 50 to 70 candidates against pro-choice members of the major political parties in the election.
Web site causes pro-abort furor
World Wide Web -- A coalition of pro-life groups are cooperating in collecting dossiers on abortionists in anticipation that one day they may be able to hold them on trial for crimes against humanity. The project is called Nuremberg Files.
One of these groups has placed a web site on the Internet asking for such documentation and pro-abortion groups have been furious.
In the opening page of the site (www.christiangallery.com/atrocity) the group says, "One of the great tragedies of the Nuremberg trials of Nazis after WWII was that complete information and documented evidence had not been collected so many war criminals went free or were only found guilty of minor crimes."
Many pro-lifers have drawn parallels between the Nazi Holocaust and abortion. Another Internet web site (user.mc.net/dougp/ahm) is dedicated to displaying that connection.
The web page contains features such as two partial files of abortionists complete with mug shots, surveillance pictures, legal documents, and a standard data sheet which gives their home addresses and phone numbers. There is also a connected page which gives a partial list of other abortionists, abortion clinic workers, and other abortion promoters on whom the Nuremberg Files Project is collecting data.
"The evidence we collect will be forwarded to several secure locations so that pro-abortion forces will not be able to destroy the evidence and prevent its future use," adds the site's introductory message. "In addition, we will share copies of the pertinent information. . . . The kind of information we need is material that will be acceptable in a court of law for identifying the child-killer and for proving the specific kinds of participation that each individual had in aborting children."
Pro-aborts are claiming that the effort is an attempt to incite violence against abortionists.
Nuremburg Files was first unveiled in January 1996 by the American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA) but the organization did not participate in the creation of the Internet site.
The Nuremberg Files records approximately 75 visits per day on average.
Nobel Prize pervert found guilty
Frederick, MD -- A Nobel Prize-winning scientist was sentenced to up to a year in jail for molesting a 16-year-old boy, one of dozens of children he had brought to live with him from the Pacific islands.
Dr. Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, 73, pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse. The young man, now 24, came from Micronesia in 1987.
The case had divided some of the nation's leading scientists and raised questions of cross-cultural morality.
Gajdusek (pronounced GUY-da-shek) won the 1976 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work on "slow viruses" that lie dormant before attacking the body. These include the virus implicated in mad-cow disease.
He retired the day before the court hearing from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, where he had been chief of the Laboratory for Central Nervous System Studies.
Gajdusek brought home 56 children, mostly boys, from research trips to the Pacific islands beginning in the 1960s. He has said he brought the children home to educate them.
Prosecutors alleged Gajdusek molested four other boys, but no charges were filed. Three have returned to Micronesia, and the fourth is in prison.
Under a plea bargain, the scientist will serve nine months to a year behind bars. If he had been convicted, he could have received 30 years. He had no comment after the sentencing.
Gajdusek was surrounded by more than a dozen supporters in court, including fellow scientists and some of his adopted children.
The FBI said the case grew out of an investigation of child pornography on the Internet, where investigators found references to Gajdusek's journals about research trips to New Guinea, Micronesia and other Polynesian islands. The journals contain descriptions and musings about sex between men and boys.
One of Gajdusek's colleagues, Paul Brown, alleged the charges were initiated by people who misunderstood Gajdusek's research. Brown said that visitors were invited to participate in the local customs -- culinary and sexual -- and that to decline would have been inappropriate.
State warns Kevorkian against further suicides
Detroit, MI -- The state is warning Jack Kevorkian that he could face a four-year felony charge and a fine for practicing medicine without a license if he assists in another suicide.
"It's very obvious to us that this guy continues to practice medicine without a license," Kathy Wilbur, director of the state Department of Consumer and Industry Services.
"If you look at the definition of medicine, it includes words like 'treat,' 'diagnose,' 'relieving pain.' So I think the state's case is very strong," she said.
Kevorkian's Michigan medical license was suspended in 1991. That suspension is technically still on appeal.
Kevorkian and his attorney Geoffrey Fieger held a news conference to respond to the order, which they said was hand-delivered to them earlier in the day.
As his response to the order, Kevorkian took a lighter and lit the document on fire.
"If you want to stop something, pass a law," Kevorkian said.
Fieger used a litany of adjectives to describe the order, calling it "incomprehensible," "tyrannical" and "unacceptable" to which Kevorkian added "fascistic." "The person behind this is John 'Nutcase' Engler [Michigan's Governor]," Fieger said. Kevorkian has 30 days to appeal the order to the state Board of Medicine.
Earlier, Fieger had called the order "a joke." "We got rid of (former Oakland County Prosecutor) Richard Thompson, but these people never stop," Fieger said.