July/August, 1998 Volume XIII Number 1
Activist priest returns to England
Front Royal, VA -- Richard Welch, a Catholic priest and President of Human Life International (HLI), the world's largest pro-life organization, flew to London to address a seminar on the dangers of sex education in the UK, scheduled for Saturday, May 9.
A canon lawyer and an expert on the dangers posed to American youth by sex education in the U.S., Welch spoke out "against the triple evils of abortion, birth control and sex education, and the relationship between the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the culture of death which is descending like a plague upon the British empire."
HLI recently launched a massive informational campaign in the U.S. to document the fraud perpetrated by Planned Parenthood, and has now brought its message to London, the seat of efforts to "spread the contraceptive and abortion agenda to unsuspecting third world nations through sex education."
"Sex education programs following the Planned Parenthood agenda," Welch added, "are largely responsible for the destruction of British society."
Welch first came to the attention of police authorities in London when he arrived in April 1993 to demand the release of Don Treshman, another American pro-life activist, who was arrested and subsequently deported by the Crown. Treshman was the first American in 30 years to be deported from the UK for "conduct not conducive to the common good" - and the first person deported under the anti-terrorist measures approved that year by Parliament.
Welch was questioned at length by Immigration officials who, at first, seemed determined to keep him out of England. He was subsequently arrested at the Buckhurst Hill abortion clinic and charged with "willful obstruction."
WI abortuaries bluff on stopping abortions, "pro-life" DA backs off
Wisconsin - Every abortion clinic in Wisconsin stopped performing abortions after a federal judge's refusal to block a new state law requiring the life imprisonment of any physician who performs a D&X or "partial-birth" abortion.
The Wisconsin law signed last month by Governor Tommy Thompson bans the late-term abortion method in which the child is partly delivered, legs first, and its brains then suctioned out so the head will pass more easily through the birth canal.
But doctors who perform abortions in Wisconsin said the law was so broadly written that it could make them liable for prosecution for any abortion procedure, even using standard methods. The law makes anyone who "partially vaginally delivers a living child, causes the death of the partially delivered child with the intent to kill the child and the completes the delivery of the child" guilty of a Class A felony. The law specifically defines child as covering the entire period from fertilization to birth.
On May 13, U.S. District Judge John C. Shabaz denied a request by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and six doctors, including Christensen, for a temporary restraining order blocking the law from going into effect.
"We called patients and told them that we could not perform any procedures Thursday because the law threatened the physician with life imprisonment, and I'm not enough of a martyr to risk it," said abortionist Dennis Christensen of the Madison Abortion Clinic, which had 22 abortions scheduled for May 14. "This really could cover any abortion. Particularly as you get into the second trimester, if we remove the pregnancy using forceps, and if a heartbeat is the measure of being alive, that happens all the time."
Anti-abortion groups say that the law is intended to cover only a particular form of abortion, and does not make doctors who use other methods vulnerable.
"My personal opinion," said Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, "is that this is a public relations ploy to challenge this law, which is very specific, and does not cover all the other methods in which the child is killed inside the womb. But any time an abortion clinic voluntarily decides not to do abortions, of course we're elated. It's good news for women and children, and I don't think it's ever happened before."
Lyons prediction proved to be accurate as merely three days after the abortionists announced they would stop all abortions, a Milwaukee clinic was back in business.
Diane Pogrant, director of the Summit Women's Health Organization, won a promise from the county district attorney that he would not prosecute the termination of first-trimester pregnancies.
At the clinic's request, Milwaukee County District Attorney Michael McCann, who ran for office as a pro-life Christian, signed an affidavit saying, "The statute unequivocally does not apply to such abortions and I would most certainly not initiate any prosecution for such abortions under the law."
The Summit clinic had more than 30 abortions scheduled on May 16.
Flip Benham released
Lynchburg, VA -- A Texas preacher and leader of the nation's largest anti-abortion group emerged unrepentant from nearly three months in jail, criticizing Jerry Falwell and promising more protests.
"I am a prisoner of Christ, a captive to his call," Flip Benham told about 25 supporters during a prayer vigil in a light, intermittent rain. "We will continue to come back to Lynchburg until perhaps one day the knees of the mighty will bow before our great king Jesus."
Benham had been in the city jail since February 18, serving time for trespassing on the campus of E.C. Glass High School during a November anti-abortion demonstration he organized.
Benham was arrested after about 150 students from Liberty University, the Christian college Falwell founded, joined him in handing out anti-abortion leaflets and holding placards outside the high school. At Benham's trial, high school students testified that the demonstrators blocked their path but police witnesses disagreed and stated that Benham and his group were cooperative.
Benham promised more and better-organized demonstrations if the trespassing conviction against a Liberty student who took part in the high school demonstration is not reversed on appeal.
While Benham was jailed, Operation Rescue and allied religious and anti-abortion groups held frequent protests in Lynchburg. Demonstrators blasted local officials and accused Falwell of not coming to their aid. They also suggested Falwell was consorting with pornographers.
In March, Benham's followers criticized Falwell for allowing the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain to manage Liberty's bookstore. Barnes & Noble faces indictments in Tennessee and Alabama for selling "Age of Innocence," a photo essay which depicts nude children.
"Dr. Falwell has done a lot to spread Christianity throughout the world," Benham said. "But I don't think any of us should enter into an unholy alliance with the largest seller of pornography in the country."
Earlier this year, Benham supporters tried to purchase "Age of Innocence" in Liberty's bookstore, but the store does not keep it in stock. Then, they ordered the book, but campus bookstore workers noted the nature of the order, canceled it and refunded the payment.
Falwell was angered at the group's tactics and their remarks, labeling it a "total deceit" and "a bald-faced lie."
Benham was pastor of a Methodist church in Garland, Texas, until 1992 when he became director of the Fort Worth chapter of Operation Rescue. In 1994, he became the organization's national director and gained attention the following year when he baptized Norma McCorvey. McCorvey was known as "Jane Roe" in the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in 1973.
No fooling on April Fools Day
Lynchburg, VA -- On April Fool's Day, Flip Benham, director of Operation Rescue/National (ORN), was served with a federal civil lawsuit in the Lynchburg City Jail where he had been incarcerated since February 18.
This civil lawsuit alleges violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Law in Dayton/Cincinnati last summer (Life Advocate September/October 1997).
Janet Reno, representing the USA, is seeking both permanent and preliminary injunctive relief, damages for the abortion clinics, and civil penalties. The action is civil not criminal.
Others named are Rusty Thomas, an associate of Benham's, and Brian Kemper, director of Rock for Life, as well as over 200 "John and Jane Does."
In the complaint, activists are alleged to have, "physically obstructed the . . . clinic by rendering access to the clinic impassable and unreasonably difficult or hazardous."
Mengele an abortionist in Argentina
Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele was the "leading" abortionist in Buenos Aires, Argentina at one stage of his fugitive life, according to a U.S. intelligence document.
He was arrested after one of his patients died, but was released two hours later when a friend paid police a "large" bribe.
He moved freely and easily through South America and regularly visited his favorite mountain resort at San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina.
He's lived under at least 15 aliases that included the names Helmut Gregor, Helmut Gregori, Dr. Fausto Rindon and S. Jose Alvers Aspiazu.
And there are hints anonymous government officials in West Germany and Argentina dragged their feet for months in serving papers for his extradition, thus helping him to escape justice.
The Sunday Star obtained the confidential U.S. document following revelations that Mengele, called the Angel of Death by prisoners at Auschwitz concentration camp, had applied to enter Canada in 1962.
It surfaced at a time when a U.S. lawyer was alleging Mengele had been shielded from prosecution by British intelligence agents after World War II because he knew too much about Britain's investments in German defense industries.
The lawyer, John Loftus, claims the British smuggled Mengele out of Europe to South America in 1949 to keep his mouth shut.
The document obtained by The Sunday Star is identified as U.S. Foreign Dispatch No. 1837. It was prepared by a member of the U.S. Counter-Intelligence Corps and was sent through official channels to authorities in Washington from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
It says an arrest warrant for Mengele, who is top of the world list of wanted Nazis, was issued in West Germany on June 5, 1959. It contained 10 charges relating to war crimes.
"Thereafter," the document states, "horrendous red tape took over, both in the bureaucracies of West Germany and Argentina."
It took 48 days to have the warrant notarized by Alberto A. Maddoni, the Argentine consul in Munich at the time.
It took another 52 days to get the warrant from Germany to the Argentine ministry of foreign and religious affairs.
Extradition proceedings weren't filed in West Germany until nine months after the original arrest warrant had been issued.
Meanwhile, Mengele was living most of the time in Paraguay and "flitted back and forth" over the border into Argentina to visit his favorite resort, the intelligence report says.
He had entered Paraguay Oct. 2, 1958, with a valid German passport that carried his real name. He became a naturalized citizen of that country on Oct. 31, 1959.
His citizenship certificate carried number 298,348 and the name Ludwig Gregor.
From 1956 to 1958, says the U.S. agent, he was the "leading abortionist" in Buenos Aires.
"But a botched abortion (in which a patient died) put him in a local police station for two hours," an agent wrote. "A friend arrived with a large bribe in pesos and Mengele escaped
Buenos Aires to enter Paraguay on Oct. 2, 1958."
Brit charged for holding picture of unborn baby
London, ENGLAND -- Michael O'Doherty of London appeared in Epping Magistrates' Court (England) on May 5 after spending a week on remand in Pentonville Prison. His trial date was set for July 9, 1998.
O'Doherty was first arrested April 20 for holding a picture of a six-week-old unborn baby in its amniotic sac whilst praying in front of the Marie Stopes abortuary, Buckhurst Hill (London). The picture allegedly violated the Public Order Act, 1986 by causing "harassment, alarm or distress" to a woman entering for a sterilization.
According to O'Doherty, the woman in question was laughing and smiling as he talked to her.
The 65-year-old grandfather of six was released under conditions that he not go within 100 feet of the abortuary. O'Doherty, who with family and friends prays there twice a week, returned on the April 25. He again was arrested, this time charged with breaking bail.
On May 4, about 20 friends and supporters held a prayer vigil outside London's Pentonville Prison. O'Doherty, who is recovering from a cancer operation last year, was being held in the prison hospital.
On April 28, he was remanded in custody and was held until his court appearance on May 5. The conditions of his release included that he not go within 1/2 mile of the Buckhurst Hill abortuary.
TN law enforcement falsely labels two churches "subversive"
Nashville, TN -- A state report on street gangs incorrectly listed two Nashville churches as "subversive groups" because of inaccurate information submitted by police.
Nashville police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said they "offered a full explanation" for including Rivergate Church of Christ and Grace Community Church in the report released last week.
"We are human and we make mistakes," Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said.
The apology was welcomed by Sellers Crain Jr., minister of the 500-member Rivergate church.
"We've had calls from our own people, asking what this was all about. It's not good for our public image," he said.
The 98-year old church has "never had any kind of problems with drugs or gangs," he said.
The report was compiled from responses to a TBI survey sent to 357 law enforcement agencies across the state. It was presented to the Tennessee Juvenile Reform Commission by TBI director Larry Wallace.
The TBI said the churches were included in the information submitted by Nashville police. The report, under the heading "Subversive Groups," said: "Joelton Area - Grace Community Church, also known as Rivergate Church of Christ. Our division has taken photos of their training area, but unable to determine members."
Aaron said police had investigated possible paramilitary activity at another church - Rivergate Community Church - after a shooting occurred there. The church is located not far from the other two churches.
The investigation turned up nothing, Aaron said.
But when the TBI solicited information for its report, an officer working from his memory of the shooting mistakenly wrote that the church investigated was Grace Community Church, which the officer believed also was known as Rivergate Church of Christ.
Aaron said police representatives called officials from both churches and told them what happened.
"The Rivergate Church of Christ and Grace Community have nothing to do with anything," Aaron said.
Rivergate Community Church was not included in the report.
Mark Gwyn, TBI executive officer, said the 400 recipients of the report will get a letter saying the section about the churches should be disregarded. The report went to judges, lawmakers, prosecutors, law enforcement agencies and others.
"What is most disturbing," said one church member who was afraid to be identified, "is how these churches got included in the report in the first place. It's only a matter of time before some hot-dog police squad kicks in the doors of some church or home and shoots people based on this kind of sloppy work."
Were there forced abortions in a U.S. Territory?
Washington, D.C. -- An administration report on abuses in the Mariana Islands could prompt criminal action as a Senate hearing has convened to hear details of slave labor, forced prostitution, and forced abortions in that U.S. territory.
"It's possible there will be criminal action,'' said Danny Aranza of the Interior Department. "These are very, very serious allegations where there may be some civil rights violations or some violations of customs and trade laws.''
The report details eyewitness accounts of indentured servitude and of women forced to have abortions or work as prostitutes in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. Pacific island chain lying between Hawaii and the Philippines.
The report was the result of an undercover operation by seven agents working for the Interior and Labor departments. Earlier, the agents interviewed more than 400 foreign workers, mostly Asian, who were lured to the islands to work as maids or factory or farm workers. In many cases, they were told they were going to the U.S. About 42,000 foreigners work there.
Wendy Doromal, a human rights activist who helped draft the report, said many workers pay recruiters up to $7,000 to get them to the islands. Once there, women working as domestics are subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Others are made to work as prostitutes or forced to have abortions. Many are never paid. The farm workers often live in shelters more suited to animals.
"People are dying there now,'' said Doromal, who lived on the islands for 11 years and was recruited by the Interior Department for the investigation. "They have oozing sores, tuberculosis. This is the USA. These people are cheated, physically abused, and then they go home and tell people what America is. This is U.S. soil, and these things should not be happening.''
The territory controls its own immigration policy and minimum wage requirements. The Senate hearing is on a bill the administration is supporting that would extend normal U.S. immigration and minimum wage laws to the islands.
The Mariana Islands support a thriving garment industry, and the territory has been touted as an economic miracle because of its ability to lure companies there. Interior Department officials say $820 million worth of clothes are sent to the USA every year for labels such as The Gap, Liz Claiborne, Banana Republic, J.C. Penney , Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers and others.
Because the islands are a U.S. territory, imports aren't subject to duties or quotas. And they sport a "Made in USA'' label. "It is wrong,'' Doromal, a U.S. citizen, will tell senators today. "It is un-American and it is a scar on the face of our great nation.''
Rudolph still sought along mountain trail
Andrews NC -- The man suspected of bombing an Alabama abortion clinic may have used the 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail as an escape route, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents cautioned hikers that he might be hiding out in the mountains of western North Carolina.
Eric Robert Rudolph, 31, now listed among the FBI's 10 Most Wanted, told acquaintances before the bombing that he might escape along the trail, FBI Inspector Terry Turchie said at a news conference. The FBI did not say if he told anyone why he might need to escape.
Investigators believe Rudolph may have used the trail that winds through 14 states, including North Carolina, to elude a massive manhunt that followed the January 29 bombing of the New Woman All Women Clinic in Birmingham, Albama.
Rudolph is the lone suspect in the bombing, which killed an off-duty police officer and seriously wounded a clinic nurse. He was last seen in Murphy, North Carolina, the day after explosion.
The Army veteran and outdoorsman also is being sought for questioning in connection with other bombings, including the July 1996 bombing at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Fliers will be tacked up at resupply points along the Appalachian Trail to make people aware that Rudolph might still be in the area, Turchie said.
Agents also planned to distribute fliers at a weekend festival in Damascus, Virginia, where about 10,000 hikers are expected to gather to celebrate their Appalachian Trail experiences, he said.
In other developments, investigators said at a news conference they believe they have identified at least one possible witness to the Olympic bombing. The potential witness was wearing a top hat and American Flag-type costume and called himself "Mr. Spirit."
Investigators have received new information and tips daily since Rudolph was added to the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List and a $1 million reward was offered for his arrest.
Child porn charge ends in agreement
Franklin, TN -- Books with nude photographs of children will be kept where kids can't get to them under an agreement between the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain and a local prosecutor.
The deal settles obscenity charges in Williamson County Criminal Court stemming from the display of three books at a Barnes & Noble store in Brentwood. If the store complies for a year, the charges will be dropped.
"We retired the case, and they agree to comply with the display statute which has to do with material that may be harmful to children," prosecutor Joe Baugh said Monday. "All they have to do is keep those books at least 5 1/2 feet above the floor."
The books that led to the charges are "The Last Day of Summer" and "Radiant Identities," both by photographer Jock Sturges, and "The Age of Innocence" by photographer David Hamilton.
The cover of "Radiant Identities" features a young girl, naked from the waist up, while the cover of "The Age of Innocence" shows a girl's face. The books contain nude photos of children and adults.
The books have sparked nationwide controversy, with protests in Kansas, Oregon, and New Hampshire last fall. Two grand juries in Alabama have indicted Barnes & Noble, accusing the nation's largest bookseller of breaking child pornography laws.
Under Tennessee's obscenity law, materials considered harmful to minors must be placed in racks above the reach of children or with wrapping that covers questionable images. Violating the law is a misdemeanor.
The Brentwood store was indicted last November after a customer complained to prosecutors that the books were displayed in easy reach of children.
Criminal charges against abortion practitioner dismissed
Van Nuys, CA -- An abor tionist with a long history of disciplinary actions by state officials was cleared of criminal charges of practicing medicine without a license.
Van Nuys Municipal Judge Leslie Dunn ruled that prosecutors could not prove that Gordon Sean Goei, who was arrested last month after a botched abortion, had read the notification that his license was suspended. The notice had been sent both by regular and registered mail.
Goei, 57, was arrested on suspicion of murder after paramedics rushed a 42-year-old mother to Northridge Hospital Medical Center on March 19 with uncontrollable bleeding (Life Advocate May/June 1998). Her aborted child, which authorities have said was 26 weeks old and could have survived outside the womb, was found in the trash at Family Planning Medical Group, the Van Nuys abortion facility where Goei worked.
Goei, whose license had been suspended March 13 by the Medical Board of California, was charged with practicing medicine without a license and performing an illegal abortion. Prosecutors at the time said that murder charges could not be sustained.
At a preliminary hearing Goei's roommate, Abraham Kasary, backed up the doctor's claim that Goei did not know his license was suspended. Kasary initially told police he left letters from the Medical Board, notifying Goie of the suspension, where Goie would find them, according to Trent Copeland, Goie's lawyer.
"The truth was he took the letters and he hid them intentionally in an effort to protect Dr. Goie from what he knew was bad news," Copeland said.
Kasary had lied initially because he knew that hiding the letters "was bad," Copeland said. Kasary brought all four letters to court.
Three were unopened, Copeland said.
Judge Dunn said she dismissed the case because prosecutors could not prove "willfulness." Prosecutors can refile the charges if they discover new evidence showing Goei knew his license was suspended.
Abortion commercial placement criticized
Boston, MA -- Broadcasting commercials for early surgical abortions on a radio station popular with younger teens is being likened to Joe Camel tobacco ads.
The Joe Camel cartoon character was seen as a marketing campaign to get young people to smoke.
Radio station WJMN-FM in Waltham has been airing commercials by Repro Associates, a for-profit clinic in Brookline, for a new operation that can end pregnancies two weeks earlier than other abortions.
According to Arbitron ratings, which measure radio audiences, WJMN is the leader in the Boston market for listeners aged 12 to 17, dominating it daily from 3 p.m. to midnight.
"I can't think of any case where an abortion ad has been placed in this kind of Joe Camel targeted way,'' said Glenn McGee, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Program for Ethical Evaluation of Reproduction.
"There is no case, other than India, where the marketing of the service of early termination is targeted at those younger than 18,'' he told the Boston Herald.
The newspaper said WJMN and Dr. Howard Silverman, a spokesman for Repro Associates, declined to comment.
Under Massachusetts law, women younger than 18 cannot get abortions without the consent of at least one parent or guardian or permission from a judge.
The state Department of Public Health said the number of Massachusetts females younger than 17 who had abortions dropped from 3,758 in 1986 to 1,710 in 1995.
"Historically, physicians don't advertise unless things get desperate,'' said McGee.
"This should worry parents because it represents a real abuse of the clinic's responsibility to think first of the welfare of their patients, and second about their salaries,'' he said.
"It would probably be sending mixed messages. If you get pregnant, here's a way to get rid of the baby fast, instead of sending a message of abstinence,'' said Leah Randolph-Bridwell, who has a 16-year-old daughter in high school.
"I don't see a problem. In fact, I think it's good that providers are making their services known,'' said Peggy Wiesenberg, who has 13- and 15-year-old daughters.
"Teens need to have access to information to know how to get the services,'' she said.
"We knew it was a sensitive topic, and we wanted to do it (advertise) carefully,'' said JoAnn Augeri Silva, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood.
"Before we started to advertise, I wanted to see what our (150 nationwide) affiliates had experienced. My information is that other affiliates had decided not to advertise,'' she said.
Massachusetts Citizens for Life officials had not heard the commercials.
"Everybody gets all excited when the tobacco industry puts on ads about smoking cigarettes geared toward teen-agers,'' said Elinor Rafferty, president of the organization.
"With all the hullabaloo that goes on with the tobacco industry, I don't hear a lot of outcries about this,'' she said.
Pharmacists to get protection
Sioux Falls, SD -- Pharmacist Jeff Gallagher was in danger of losing his job last year when he refused to comply with his clinic's policy of providing rape victims with "morning-after" pills to end pregnancies.
Gallagher, a devout Catholic who believes life begins at conception, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He kept his job.
"All I wanted to do was practice my religion without being reprimanded," he said. "I thought freedom of religion was allowed in this country."
Protection for Gallagher and others like him in South Dakota is on the way. On July 1, a law goes into effect that shields pharmacists from being sued or fired if they refuse to dispense drugs used for abortion, suicide, or euthanasia.
The law is the first of its kind in the nation.
While Gallagher welcomes the protection, some say the law works to undermine another freedom: a woman's right to choose to have an abortion.
"They've been chipping away at Roe v. Wade for years," said Thelma Underberg, South Dakota director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. "They're starting with what they can control."
Underberg said the law will cause problems for women in rural areas. If one pharmacist refuses to dispense a morning-after pill, which must be taken within 72 hours after sex, a woman may have to drive to another town hundreds of miles away in this vast, rural state.
Dan Wunrow, executive director of South Dakota Right to Life, said he hopes a pharmacist's refusal will prompt a patient to give up trying to get the pills. But he said the law's goal is to protect pharmacists and not necessarily to curb the number of abortions.
State Senator Keith Paisley, a Republican from Sioux Falls, voted against the bill, which passed the House 57-10 and the Senate 30-3. Most lawmakers turned the debate into a "hellfire and brimstone" issue and were swayed by their emotions rather than logic, he said.
"They said, 'If I don't vote for this, it will make me look bad ... or I won't be a moral person,'" Paisley said.
The law erects a barrier between doctors and patients by allowing pharmacists to second-guess and even stop a physician's orders, he said.
But pharmacists make judgments about prescriptions all the time, such as making sure a drug does not interact with other medicine a patient is taking, said Thomas Berg, a pharmacy professor at South Dakota State University.
Although pharmacists rarely refuse to dispense a prescribed drug, they need legal protection if such a situation arises, said Berg, who supports the new law.
"A pharmacist should not be forced to ignore his or her conscience," he said.
Terri McEntaffer, executive director of the South Dakota Pharmacists Association, agreed. She said the law provides druggists with the same protection given to doctors and nurses who choose not to help in an abortion or mercy killing.
McEntaffer was not aware of any South Dakota pharmacist being fired for refusing to dispense a medication, but believes such a situation becomes more likely as more controversial drugs are developed.
Linda Pierson, a Sioux Falls pharmacist, thinks people in her profession should have some type of "conscience clause" but worries that some may take the new law too far.
"Will they not dispense to an AIDS patient if that lifestyle is against their morals?" she asked.
WA State judge cleared in free speech case
Olympia, WA -- State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders has been cleared of a reprimand he received for speaking at a pro-life rally. A Washington Judicial Conduct Commission reprimanded Sanders last May for speaking at a pro-life rally on the steps of the Capitol in January of 1996. A panel of nine Court of Appeals judges ruled that Sanders was not guilty of weakening public confidence in the judiciary by his remarks, as the Commission alleged.
Canadian woman gets settlement in abortion negligence suit
Halifax, CANADA -- An abortionist and an employee at Halifax's Morgentaler abortion facility are appealing a court ruling that awarded more than $700,000 to a woman who was badly injured in a car accident after an abortion.
Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Douglas MacLellan ruled they should not have allowed Wanda MacPhail to drive home following an abortion March 24, 1993. He awarded MacPhail $724,547 - mostly for lost future income - along with prejudgment interest of $9,105, and $41,393 in legal costs.
In his December 23, 1997 decision, MacLellan ruled MacPhail, 37, was traumatized by the abortion and should not have been permitted to drive herself home to Boutiliers Point, 40 kilometres away.
"I find that Dr. Desrosiers and Jean Palmer breached their duty of care to the plaintiff by not ensuring that they, or some staff member, advised her not to drive," MacLellan said in the written decision.
He found MacPhail, a nurse and mother of four, didn't want to have the abortion but chose to do so largely because her husband was upset by her pregnancy.
"Later, as she drove home, I believe the intense emotional turmoil of aborting what she described as a baby, caused her to faint. This resulted in her losing control of her vehicle and letting it cross the center line of the highway and being struck by the other vehicle," MacLellan wrote.
The abortion was performed after which MacPhail said she was physically okay, but emotionally shaken. She was taken to a recovery room where she sat for 30 to 45 minutes in a "robot-like" state with no counseling or post-abortion support.
MacLellan found abortion-clinic staff also liable for Newbury's injuries, but MacPhail wasn't. He did not make a decision on damages in that case.
In light of the appeal, the court issued a partial stay on the payment order. The abortion facility staffers were to pay $5,000 per month beginning January 1 until the beginning of this month, pending the appeal outcome.
Ellen" TV show canceled
New York, NY -- Too much of the same thing - not the gay thing - led to a dwindling audience for "Ellen," the president of ABC said - but only after much pressure and a decline in advertising revenues brought about by product boycotts and letter-writing campaigns.
Robert Iger claimed the sitcom became too much for people because it explored the lead character's homosexuality every week.
"I think the audience left primarily because of sameness. Not gayness," Iger said of the recently canceled show in an interview to be broadcast tonight on the network's "Prime Time Live."
A year ago, "Ellen" made television history as the first series with an openly homosexual lead character. It drew both praise and fire for its portrayal of a woman coming to terms with her lesbianism.
But despite the denials that it was the "gayness" of the show which brought about its demise, others claim that the issue of homosexuality was central to this event.
The show was not strong even before the "coming out" episode and it only rose temporarily during those shows.
However, after the "coming out," groups like American Family Association mounted national letter-writing campaigns to local an national advertisers causing many to retreat from the show. Declining viewership only added to this problem.
FL governor nixes pro-life plate
Tallahassee, FL -- Saying it would be the first specialty license plate in Florida to promote a political message, Governor Lawton Chiles vetoed an anti-abortion tag with the message "choose life."
"It's a subject that's very controversial, divides the state," Chiles said. "And I don't think we ought to embark on that with tags."
The plate was bright yellow and carried the faces of two smiling children as well as the words "choose life." A group called Choose Life Inc. collected 10,000 signatures and paid a $30,000 fee, the two prerequisites for seeking legislative approval of a specialty tag.
The money raised by the $20 extra fee for the plate would have been distributed among private groups to help women who want to put children up for adoption. Agencies that provide abortion services would have been ineligible, Chiles noted in his veto message.
The license plate "by its very terms ... does not foster choice" by barring abortion groups from getting money.
US and Norway "used insane for Nazi-style tests"
Oslo, NORWAY -- American and Norwegian hospitals were involved in sterilization experiments on the mentally retarded using radiation over a 20-year period up to 1994.
Although most of the work was done during the Cold War, some experiments continued until as late as four years ago, according to the Oslo daily Dagbladet.
With chilling echoes of the Nazi era, the Americans and Norwegians were intent upon assessing the effects of radiation on different parts of the body and apparently had no qualms about the use of subjects who were "easy to deal with", according to Fredrik Mellbye, 81, who revealed the shocking details of the project. He is a former colleague of the then director of Norway's health services.
The State Department in Washington is seeking "clarification" of the report from its embassy in Oslo.
"An unknown number of experiments were undertaken in all secrecy at many Norwegian hospitals after the war when the nuclear threat and arms race were at their worst," the Norwegian daily reported. "The retarded and insane were used, among other things, in trials for X-ray castration, a method used by German Nazi doctors during the Second World War in the Auschwitz and Ravensbruck concentration camps."
Mellbye said hospital records would prove the tests had taken place. "I cannot remember that anyone at any time put their foot down to stop what was happening," he said. "Both authorities in the health services, psychiatrists and other doctors knew what was going on."
The revelations follow admissions by the Swedish authorities last year that 4,500 mental patients were made to undergo lobotomies in an officially sanctioned program that lasted almost 20 years. Sweden has also admitted that 60,000 women were forcibly sterilized between 1936 and 1976.
Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia and one Swiss canton as well as the Nazis all put the theory of selective breeding into practice in the 1920s and 1930s.
But the Swedish revelations were particularly stunning. Grounds for sterilization included "unmistakable Gypsy features, psychopathy, and vagabond life." Other grounds were specified as "displaying undesirable racial characteristics or signs of 'inferiority', poor eyesight or sexual and social deviancy."
Last year the French launched an inquiry into reports that 15,000 Frenchwomen had been illegally sterilized without their consent after being declared unfit for motherhood.
All were sterilized by state-run institutions.
Mellbye said the Norwegian experiments were carried out with the co-operation of Americans "at the highest level" and that Norwegian doctors were encouraged to seek US financial support.
Dagbladet said public investigations in America have revealed that authorities there financed about 4,000 such experiments on humans between 1944 and 1994.
After Norway was liberated from Nazi occupation in 1945, it was eager for US military and economic assistance. When the Soviet Union, which shared a border with Norway, began producing nuclear weapons in 1949 the West wanted to know more about the impact nuclear fallout had on people. Mellbye said the program was an attempt to gain basic knowledge about radiation and was neither secret nor controversial.
"It was part of the natural order of the time," he noted.
Judge orders "unsafe" abortion facility closed
Atlanta, GA -- A Fulton County judge shut down Georgia's biggest abortion facility based on state claims that Atlanta's Midtown Hospital is so filthy and badly run that lives are endangered there every day.
The Department of Human Resources says the abortion facility is "overcrowded, understaffed and dirty" and shows "a complete disregard for, or the inability to care for, the health and safety of its patients."
Superior Court Senior Judge William Alexander ordered the Ponce de Leon Avenue clinic closed while the state pursued attempts to shut it down permanently. Administrator Ignatius DeBlasio said they would appeal next week.
The state investigated for more than two years and found dozens of violations, according to the complaint it filed in Fulton Superior Court.
Unborn children were expelled on the floor and in the commode, because of overcrowding and a lack of patient monitoring;
Equipment was not sterilized adequately;
Employees could not prove their qualifications;
Medical records were inadequate;
The facility lacked emergency policies; and
Maintenance and housekeeping failures included an opened window within feet of an operating room table, a hole in an operating room wall, dirty floors, stained ceiling tiles and peeling paint.
State investigators began finding rules violations during licensing inspections in February 1996, the complaint says. They found 17 infractions on Oct. 3, when DHR told the abortion facility it would be fined $25,000. Then, after three more visits early this year, the state issued a 60-page statement of deficiencies, revealing "a startling array of severe rule violations which have a direct adverse impact on patient care."
In further visits, abortion facility employees refused to allow inspectors to review part of its operations and to provide some records, DHR alleges. The state told the abortion facility March 9 it would revoke its permit, and returned March 14, accompanied by a warrant and sheriff's deputies, and again on April 6 in response to complaints. The state found "a continuing, shocking disregard for the welfare" of patients.
On April 21, the abortion facility sent the state its compliance plan. But a follow-up tour May 5 found continued problems, the state says.
The abortion facility performed more abortions than any facility in Georgia - 7,465 in 1996, including second trimester abortions - said DHR spokeswoman Fran Buchanan.
Mary Boyert, executive director of the Georgia Right to Life Committee, called the state's allegations frightening.
"I'm just very concerned for the women who might have abortions there and hope that there's some way to close it down immediately," she said. "It's bad enough that they're taking the life of the child, but it sounds like they're putting [women's] lives at risk, too."
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