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Dec. 13, 2002
Jewish Population Crisis Revives Anti-Abortion Council 
Despite controversy, the government-funded Israel Council for Demography was revived after being dormant for five years. The council discourages Jewish abortions and intermarriage and encourages Jews to have more children with incentives such as housing benefits and other grants. The recognition that an official abortion-discouraging council is needed is due to a 'demographic crisis' made public by a study released showing the Jewish population outside Israel is declining at an alarming rate. The main decline in the Jewish population seems to be in the U.S. where there has been a decline of 300,000, from 5.5 million in 1990 to 5.2 million in 2002. (Irish Pro-Life News, 12/9/02)

Louisiana Backs Off Discrimination Against Pro-Life Nurse 
A press release issued on October 28th by Pharmacists for Life says "The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), an international public interest law firm committed to protecting life, announced today that the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reversed itself and has agreed to stop discriminating against a public health nurse from New Orleans who was threatened with termination for refusing to dispense pregnancy-ending medication — a job requirement that violates her deeply-held religious beliefs.

The ACLJ filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) and the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights on behalf of Cynthia Day of Marrero, LA, who is employed as a public health nurse.

The complaints contended that Day repeatedly told her supervisors that she could not dispense what is known as a "morning-after" pill — medication designed to end pregnancies. Day says she holds a sincere religious belief that human life, beginning at fertilization, is sacred and cannot be harmed in any way. She was criticized for her beliefs and threatened with being fired.

Within days of filing the complaints, and following publicity about the case, Day received a letter from Madeline W. McAndrew, Assistant Secretary of the Dept. of Health and Hospitals, saying the Health Department "is rescinding the proposed action and will accommodate your request based on religious and moral grounds." McAndrew told Day she had instructed officials to "immediately remove you from any duties that require you to discuss or provide the emergency contraception pill."

The resolution of the case comes on the heels of a major federal court decision in California in which the ACLJ successfully convinced a jury that Riverside County violated the constitutional rights of a former nurse who was fired from her job for refusing to dispense "morning-after" medication. Damages in that case, including a jury award and attorney’s fees totaled $100,000.

Also in Louisiana: Choose Life License Plates Safe from Court Challenge 
The U.S. Supreme Court on December 2nd refused, without comment, to review an appeal by opponents of "Choose Life" license plates. Louisiana is one of seven states that have authorized such car tags. In 2000, a federal judge stopped the state from distributing the plates, which have a picture of a baby wrapped in a blanket in the beak of a brown pelican — the state bird. But earlier this year, an appeals court said the groups did not have standing to sue. Lawsuits have been filed in other states over the plates, contending they violate the separation of church and state. Besides Louisiana, states with "Choose Life" laws are Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina. (TheNewOrleansChannel.com, 12/2/02) More states are expected to pass "Choose Life" legislation next year.

Words to Live By 
"If you sign a Living Will, your attending physician may be a stranger unfamiliar with your wishes and moral values. He may interpret the document in a way you did not intend. Living Will laws generally do not require the physician to consult with family members or others familiar with a patient’s wishes before stopping treatment."

"In a society that has banished God’s law, it is not prudent to sign anything that spells out conditions under which you would rather be dead." ("Medical decision-making in accord with the divine plan; Part II: Advance directives," Celebrate Life Magazine — September/October 2002)

On Human Embryos 
This from Australian Cabinet Minister Tony Abbott, quoted by Aussie Internet News Service — News.com.au: "At the very least, it seems to me that the human embryo is worthy of respect. . . . It cannot be treated with no more respect than a laboratory rat destined to be sacrificed for the sake of science." (Life Advocacy Briefing, 8/25/02)

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