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Culture of death: update.

The following items are not in any order of importance but they all concern--for good or bad--the dignity of human life.

International

Warsaw--Poland's socialist (read, former Communist) dominated upper House of Parliament amended the 1993 law against abortion on August 30, 1996, to permit the free killing of the unborn in theory only up to the 12th week but, as practice will show, in reality without time limit. The vote was 208 to 61, with 15 abstentions. On October 24, the lower House followed suit.

Cape Town--South Africa, too, adopted open season on the unborn when in early summer the South African cabinet decided to allow abortion on demand up to the 14th week of pregnancy. On October 29, the National Assembly, dominated by Nelson Mandela's National Party, approved the decision. The Catholic Church denounced it. The law was signed on December 11, 1996.

China

According to a Chinese newspaper, authorities in the town of Shenzhein have "forced" 906 families out of the city for "exceeding family-planning targets." The families were notified that they had 15 days to leave the city. Authorities confiscated their "residence certificates, revoked their labor permits and business licenses and ordered the housing department to stop renting apartments and shops to them." China's forced-abortion policy allows one child per couple. (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 4, 1996)

Washington, D.C.--The Population Research Institute (PRI), an affiliate of Human Life International, has filed a formal petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking to halt the sale of the contraceptive device Norplant. (Wanderer, July 18, 1996)

Norplant, developed by New York's Population Council, was tested on women in underdeveloped countries beginning in 1972 and declared free of serious side affects by its manufacturer Wyeth-Ayerst (its Canadian plant is in Montreal). It was given the green light in the U.S. in 1990 and in Canada in December 1993, with medical doctors, contraceptive advocates and the liberal media recommending it as safe.

Unlike women in underdeveloped countries, however, American women have legal rights: today already some 50,000 of them have filed lawsuits for suffering severe side effects. PRI is asking the U.S. government to reverse its approval and force Norplant off the market. It wants to stop the chemical warfare on women and another carnage like that of the Dalkon Shield device, which ruined the health of millions of women across the world.

In 1968 Pope Paul VI re-affirmed the Catholic Church's 1900-year-old objection to artificial contraception as a moral teaching to be adhered to by all Catholics.

Canada

Statistics

Ottawa--Abortion statistics will be discontinued, says Statistics Canada. Monetary savings is the motive (a mere $250,000). The real reason is more likely to be instructions from the Liberal government who are embarrassed every year by the media ruckus over the latest abortion figures. The figure for 1994: 106,255. Total for the years 1970-1996: close to two million.

The annual increases since 1988 are the result chiefly of new provincial abortion clinics, promoted especially by NDP governments in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. (The Parti Quebecois is Quebec's NDP.) Action: Please write: John Manley, MP, Minister of Industry, Confederation Bldg., Room 158, Ottawa, ON., K1A 0T6 and ask that statistics be continued and be even more detailed.

RU-486

Vancouver -- BC's NDP government attempted to speed up approval for the RU-486 abortion pill, a human pesticide. Provincial Health Minister Joy MacPhail wrote Ottawa urging speedy acceptance, but federal Health Minister David Dingwall declined to comply.

Earlier, on April 15, 1996, the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL) held a press conference in Toronto promoting "emergency contraceptives that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex."

Pro-life prisoners

Toronto/Montreal/Vancouver--Once more in jail for another six months is intrepid abortion protester Linda Gibbons, mother and grandmother. After her release in August, she returned to the scene of the crime, the Buriani abortuary zone on Gerard Street, Toronto, to carry a sign in the usual matter, i.e., quietly and solitarily. She was later joined for a week in jail by Bill Whatcott, he for the supposed crime of obscenity, i.e., carrying a very large picture of a gruesomely aborted baby.

Five hundred miles further northeast, in Montreal, Michel Tissot, father of four, was in jail from August 8 to late September. His crime: carrying a large picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in front of Dr. Morgentaler's abortuary on its quiet residential street.

In Delta, B.C., the legal harassment of Constable Steve Parker, a member of Campaign Life Coalition, continues. Using police computers to search licence plates is routine, but apparently not when it involves pro-abortionists.

In Vancouver in early December, human rights advocate Jim Demers was arrested twice outside an abortion clinic. His crime: carrying a sign quoting the declaration of human rights of the Organization of American States. The 39-year-old cabinet maker and father of five children will remain in custody until his trial in early February. Demers, who acts as his own legal counsel, has been arrested and jailed five times previously for pro-life rescues and protests at Everywoman's.

Bubble zones

Vancouver--In B.C., the Supreme Court's Madam Justice Mary Saunders upheld the so-called bubble zones around abortuaries, prohibiting demonstrations there, in the name of women's rights. Judge Saunders said such protests are "contrary to the dignity of the woman" entering an abortion clinic for an "anxious" medical procedure. The judge said nothing about the "procedure" itself, needless to say.

Also in B.C., the Pro-Life Society has protested a B.C. Department of Health grant of $16,500 to the B.C. Coalition for Abortion Clinics in the fiscal year 1994-1995. The Coalition is a political action group.

Premier Harris

Toronto--After a year and a half in power, the PC government of Michael Harris has still not decided to drop the NDP-inspired legal harassment of the "pro-life eighteen" (for picketing abortuaries).

And the Canadian Family Physician of August '96 revealed in a news story that Ontario taxpayers are on the hook for $50,000 annual payments to Dr. Henry Morgentaler for training doctors "in provision of abortion services." This is also an NDP-Bob Rae initiative.

Ban chastity education

Regina--The Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL) in Regina is asking the Saskatchewan NDP government to take steps to halt teenage pregnancies. Its solution:

* remove the provincial restriction requiring girls under 18 to have their parents' permission for an abortion;

* ban all chastity-based sex education in the school system.

No tax money

Charlottetown--Henry Morgentaler struck out in the courts of P.E.I. on Sept. 16 when the Appeals Court ruled that P.E.I. has no obligation to pay for abortions done in his Halifax, N.S. and Fredericton, N.B., abortuaries. Justice Gerald Mitchell, together with Chief Justice Norman Carruthers, ruled that the P.E.I. government has the right to make regulations limiting who is paid. Morgentaler wants the federal Health Minister David Dingwall to step in. Other pro-abortionists want the federal government to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. By January 1, 1997, no action had been taken.

Supreme Court and glue-sniffing mother

Winnipeg--The Supreme Court of Canada has decided to hear an appeal of the case of the pregnant Winnipeg woman addicted to sniffing solvents (see C.I., Oct. '96, editorial, page 3). The Manitoba Appeal Court overruled Manitoba Judge Perry Schulman and allowed her to leave rehabilitation even though her behaviour posed a grave risk to the child in her womb.

She gave birth to a baby boy, named William, on December 16. So far he has no obvious problems.

Do unborn babies have legal rights?

Ontario provincial court judge Inger Hansen deliberated whether or not Brenda Drummond will stand trial for attempted murder after a pre-trial hearing held November 27-29 in Smith Falls, ON., on the potentially landmark case. The 28-year-old Drummond was charged after firing a pellet gun into her womb two days before giving birth on May 30 to an infant son with a pellet lodged in his brain. Baby Jonathan survived, but it is unclear if he has suffered brain damage.

Drummond's lawyer Lawrence Greenspon argued that there was no crime because the fetus is not a person under Canadian law, and there can be no murder if there is no human victim.

Crown attorney John Waugh conceded that in law the fetus is not a person, but argued that the unborn child does have an identity under the present Canadian Criminal Code. He cited Section 223, which states that homicide has been committed when someone "causes injury to a child before or during its birth as a result of which the child dies after becoming a human being." Waugh said Jonathan would have died had there not been medical intervention, and the fact that he did not makes it attempted homicide. The "born-alive" rule dates back to the 17th century and came about because in the past there was no way to tell if a stillborn baby had been alive at the time it was injured in utero.

On December 23 Judge Hansen dismissed the case because in Canada the law does not recognize a pre-born baby, even if full-term, as a person with the rights of a human being.
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Jan 1, 1997
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