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Dec. 3, 2002|
30 Years After Roe |
In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the week of January 19 - 26 has been designated "Sanctity of Life Week." Ken Connor’s November 26th edition of Washington Update points out that Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family have put together a tool-kit of resources to help coordinate events in local churches across America as they recognize the sanctity of life. The kit includes Dr. Dobson’s video, "Life is Sacred," bulletin inserts, handbooks, music CDs and other valuable resources. To order a kit for your church, call 1-800-A-Family (232-6459). The offer is only good through December 9.
The case involves Jaclyn Kurr, who was 17 weeks pregnant when she stabbed and killed her boyfriend, Antonio Pena, in October of 1999, after he punched her in the stomach. She later had a miscarriage. Found guilty of manslaughter, Kurr is now serving a prison term of five to twenty years.
During her trial, Kurr’s attorney, Gail Rodwan, argued that her client had the right to defend herself and her fetus [baby], under a statute in Michigan called the defense of others law. It says, in part, that a "person has the right to use force or even take a life to defend someone else under certain circumstances if a person acts in lawful defense of another."
But during Kurr’s trial, the judge barred the jury from considering this argument after hearing medical testimony from a physician that a fetus isn’t viable until 22 weeks, which Kurr’s fetus [baby] was not. The judge concluded that in order for Kurr to present a "defense of others" theory, there had "to be a living human being existing independent" of Kurr.
Last month, a state court of appeals overturned Kurr’s conviction on the grounds that the jury was not properly instructed on the "defense of others" theory. The case has been appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which is weighing whether to take the case and delve into the controversy of when a fetus [baby] actually becomes viable. ("Court May Tackle Question of When Life Begins" by Jeff Goldblatt, FOXNews.com, 11/21/02)
Since babies are now being engendered in petri dishes and are considered "viable" enough to be implanted in a woman’s uterus after only a day or two, how can anybody claim that a baby older than that isn’t viable? If what was conceived in a petri dish isn’t a living, human baby separate from his mother, what’s the point?
The trial court initially dismissed the case, Rosa Acuna v. Dr. Sheldon Turkish, in which Ms. Acuna claimed emotional distress due to the death of her unborn child, as a result of an abortion performed by Turkish. The Appellate Division, in a 22-page opinion, later reversed the trial court’s dismissal. Ms. Acuna states, according to public documents filed with the Appellate Court, that the abortion was performed without her informed consent. She asserts that the abortionist did not explain that the essential nature of the abortion procedure was that it terminated a life of a living human being, and that she specifically asked the doctor if her "baby was already there." Acuna wanted to know if a human being was already in existence and says that Dr. Turkish misled her by telling her that it is "nothing but some blood."
The trial court had ruled that Roe v. Wade prohibited the state from recognizing the fact that the child was a human being. The Appellate Court rejected that contention.
Ms. Acuna’s attorney is Harold Cassidy, an advocate of the right of pregnant mothers who successfully litigated the Baby M case, which protected mother’s rights by declaring surrogate parenting contracts unenforceable.
If the Court rules in favor of Ms. Acuna, it will mean that a doctor will be required to inform a pregnant mother, prior to her giving consent to an abortion, that the doctor would be terminating the life of a living human being. (The Wanderer, 11/28/02)
Arizona allows exceptions to its general prohibition against abortion funding. When first enacted in 1980, the law allowed funding of abortion in cases of endangerment to the life of the mother. In 1993, when the federal Hyde Amendment was liberalized to allow funding of abortions performed on babies conceived through rape and incest, Arizona extended its funding for those cases as well.
The Arizona Supreme Court seized upon these exceptions and held that since the Arizona Constitution states that laws "equally belong to all citizens," equality and non-discrimination require that if the state is going to pay for some indigent abortions, it must necessarily fund all indigent abortions for health reasons.
Its conclusion thereby expanded Arizona funding of abortions to "women who experience the unfortunate coinciding circumstances of being both indigent and ill while pregnant."
Justice Rebecca White Berch wrote a powerful dissent in which she noted that the majority rewrote the statute to replace the funding limitation for "life of the woman having the abortion" with "health of the woman having the abortion." The Court improperly acted as a super-legislature, modifying the statute at whim.
The Arizona law was on the books for nineteen years before the abortionists challenged it and the activist judges rewrote it. This decision illustrates the folly of trying to be pro-life with exceptions. [Our thanks to attorney Andrew Schlafly for the information contained in this article]
Courts in other states have ruled on disputes over custody of embryos, but this case is unique. In previous instances, the embryos had genetic material from both parties. But when Becky and David Litowitz were still married, they formed a contract with a lab at Loma Linda University in California to fertilize the eggs of a donor with the sperm of Mr. Litowitz.
In the 1998 divorce case, David Litowitz was awarded custody of the embryos. Now, against the wishes of his ex-wife who has no biological connection with the children, he wants them killed. Becky Litowitz claims that her ex-husband promised to put the embryos up for adoption, not kill them.
Richard Ackerman, lead attorney for Becky Litowitz, cites in his defense of the legal rights of human embryos in California, a complex decision, Moore v. Regents of the University of California, in which "it appears that human embryos cannot be considered as ‘property’ or an ‘economic interest.’"
Scott Lively, head of the Pro-Family Law Center near Sacramento who also represents Becky Litowitz, argues that the court appointment of David Litowitz as guardian of the embryos was an implicit acknowledgement that they are human beings. "They don’t appoint a ‘guardian ad litem’ for property," he pointed out. "Property doesn’t have rights, people have rights."
Lively believes that recognition of the embryos’ right to life "would go a long way to advancing the pro-life position" in the courts. (Excerpted from "Embryo case could challenge abortion rights" by Art Moore, WorldNetDaily.com, 10/16/02)
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