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RNC for Life REPORT
A Publication of the Republican National Coalition for Life September/October 2002 - No. 46
Priscilla Owen's Rejection Says More
About Al Gonzales Than It Does About Her
 
Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen's nomination for the Fifth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals was rejected on Thursday, September 5, 2002 on a party­line vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The ten Democrats on the committee once again played hardball, not allowing the highly qualified Owen, who received unanimous ``highly qualified'' approval from the American Bar Association, the opportunity to have her nomination voted up or down by the full Senate.

Of course, the issue was abortion. The liberal Democrats seem to care more about stopping any perceived threat to legal abortion, no matter how remote, than just about anything else. Notwithstanding the fact that nobody knows whether or not Priscilla Owen is pro­life, the fact that she wrote a dissent in a Texas case in which a 17­year­old minor seeking an abortion was denied a judicial bypass by the trial court and again by the appeals court was enough to put the pro­abortion lobby and their friends in the Senate into high gear. The Texas Supreme Court disagreed with the two lower courts and granted the bypass so the girl could get an abortion behind her parents' backs. Justice Owen and two other justices dissented, interpreting the intent of the Legislature in passing the Texas Parental Notification law as actually wanting parents to be notified of their minor daughter's intention to have an abortion, except in rare circumstances.

In her dissent, Justice Owen wrote that the majority of the Court "has usurped the role of the trial court, reweighed the evidence and drawn its own conclusion." She said, "Under well­settled Texas law, the court may not disturb a trial judge's findings unless no reasonable person could have reached the same conclusion." "The question in this case is not," she wrote, "whether this court would have ruled differently when confronted with all the evidence that the trial court heard. The question is whether legally sufficient evidence supports the trial court's judgment. The answer to this latter question is yes."

Then, Owen's colleague on the Court, former justice and now White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales who had joined with the majority in the case, weighed in with a stinging response that was largely responsible for Justice Owen's defeat last week. According to a column by Terry Eastland in the Washington Times on July 23, 2002, Gonzales said, "To construe [the act] so narrowly as to eliminate bypasses, or to create hurdles that simply are not to be found in the words of the state, would be an unconscionable act of judicial activism" — one he said he wouldn't engage in. By implication, the dissenting justices advancing the narrower interpretation [of the Parental Notification Law] stood accused of just that.

" . . . an unconscionable act of judicial activism." Those words killed Priscilla Owen's nomination before her hearing ever commenced. The Democrats seized on it like dogs on a bone.

Alberto Gonzales has been frequently mentioned Priscilla Owen as a possible Bush nominee to a federal bench or even the Supreme Court, should an opening occur. Pro­life Americans should not forget his role in both the Texas Supreme Court case and Priscilla Owen's ordeal. It is not known whether Priscilla Owen believes the right to life of unborn children should be respected and protected or whether she approached the parental notification bill as purely a parental rights issue. We do know where Alberto Gonzales stands. If President Bush nominates Gonzales to a federal bench or the high Court, pro­life, pro­family, and pro­parental­rights conservatives have ample reason to oppose his nomination.


 
NEW HAMPSHIRE  
U.S. Senator Bob Smith, a pro­life champion upon whom we have depended for many years, will be leaving the U.S. Senate in January. After a hard­fought primary race, Congressman John Sununu won the seat. For the pro­life cause, the loss is great. Senator Smith has worked hard, often going the extra mile, to take whatever congressional action he could to advance the pro­life cause. We will miss his steadfast dedication to truth and life. We wish him God speed as new doors open to him. Most of all, we wish to say a heartfelt "thank you" to a man of principle and compassion for all the babies, without exception.


ILLINOIS  
Abstinence Educator Wins "Miss America" Crown. If you watched the Miss America pageant on Saturday night, September 21st, you saw Miss Illinois, Erika Harold, selected as "Miss America" from among the beautiful and talented representatives from all 50 states and the territories. Erika is a 22­year­old graduate of the University of Illinois, the recipient of full scholarships from five top U.S. law schools, who reportedly "wowed" the judges with her rendition of an aria from the opera Carmen. Miss Harold has worked for the past four years with Project Reality, the pioneer in educating young people on the healthy advantages of abstinence from sexual activity until marriage. During the coming year Erika will tour the country as Miss America, sharing her message of hope, safety and a happy life for youngsters who are exposed to so many of today's cultural dangers. Upon completion of her reign, Erika will enter Harvard Law School.


CALIFORNIA  
Embryonic Stem Cell Research Moves Forward. The AP (9/22/02), in a story by Jennifer Coleman, reported that Governor Gray Davis, a pro­abortion liberal Democrat, has signed into law a bill that will allow the killing and donation of human embryonic babies for stem cell experiments.

The legislation, authored by state Senator Deborah Ortiz, requires in­vitro fertilization clinics to inform women they have the option to donate discarded embryos to research. It requires written consent for donating embryos for research and bans the sale of embryos.

Actor Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed in a horse riding accident seven years ago, joined Davis at the bill signing. Claiming that stem cells from embryonic babies may offer hope of a cure for his paralysis, Mr. Reeve has been a vocal activist for the experiments despite the fact that the only real medical progress has been through the use of adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells have not only yielded little progress, but have caused runaway cell growth and other problems detrimental to patients.

It is way past time for Congress to act to prevent the wanton killing of tiny human babies whose parents would abandon them to being used in scientific research. Federal legislation should be enacted that would deny federal funds to any state that allows embryonic stem cell experiments and/or allows the cloning of human beings under any circumstances for any reason.


TEXAS  
Democrat Candidates Barred from Catholic Premises in Texas Diocese. "The Catholic diocese in which Democrat gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez grew up has banned him from speaking at church facilities because of his position favoring abortion rights.

"Bishop Edmond Carmody of Corpus Christi also said Democratic lieutenant governor candidate John Sharp is banned because of his abortion stance, the Austin American­Statesman reported." (AP 6/25/2002)

Sanchez presents himself as a loyal Catholic, while at the same time declaring his unequivocal support for "a woman's right to choose." Sharp, who as a state senator carried pro­life legislation, did an about face when he decided to accept the chairmanship of Michael Dukakis's failed 1998 presidential campaign.

The AP further reported, "Under pastoral guidelines in effect in the Corpus Christi diocese since 1999, Catholics who declare themselves in support of abortion rights cannot hold church positions or speak at any Catholic institutions in the region." The guidelines say the intent is to draw Catholics who favor abortion rights to a "reconsideration of their pro­choice positions and be brought to a real conversion of heart so that they may accept wholeheartedly the truth of Christ as taught by the church."

Republican Governor Rick Perry favors regulation and restriction of the practice of abortion, but justifies it for babies conceived through rape or incest. David Dewhurst, Republican candidate for Lt. Governor, opposes abortion except when the mother's life is in danger.


GEORGIA 
GARTL Changes Policy on Candidate Endorsements. Political candidates who justify abortion for babies conceived through acts of rape or incest no longer qualify for endorsement by Georgia Right to Life. This news bodes well for the pro­life movement. It displays a consistent respect for innocent life in the womb and it lets politicians know that pro­life leaders in Georgia are serious about electing people who intend to move the pro­life ball down the legislative court.

Already, Georgia candidates have moved toward a consistent ethic of life position. In the hotly contested primary race between two Republican congressmen who, because of redistricting, had to run against each other in the same district, Rep. Bob Barr has maintained a solid pro­life position while Rep. John Linder held exceptions for rape and incest. Mr. Linder recently changed his view and now conforms with the policy of Georgia Right to Life. Linder spokesman Bo Harmon explained that, "After many years, Mr. Linder has just come to this position and believes that all life is worthy of protection." As a result, both men received Georgia Right to Life PAC's endorsement, ensuring that a solid pro­lifer will serve the people of the 7th District in Congress.

John Linder won the Republican primary on Tuesday, August 20th. We are delighted that he will join the number of solid pro­life Members who can be counted on to stand up for the inherent right to life of every innocent baby from conception!

While Georgia Right to Life is taking some heat from some politicians and party officials for its decision, others are embracing the truly pro­life position. Over time, we are convinced that the pro­ life legislative agenda in Georgia and in the U.S. Congress will be better served because of the renewed commitment of pro­life leaders to the prin­ ciple that each and every human life is sacred and worthy of legal protection and politicians who think otherwise will not receive their support.

We urge pro­life groups in every state to adopt the same policy and support only those candidates who do not justify abortion for any precious little one who is waiting to be born.


Abortion Non­Discrimination Act Passes House  
Thanks to your vigilance in contacting your resentatives in Congress, yesterday, September 25, 2002, the U. S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4691 (ANDA) by a vote of 229­189 on final passage. The bill allows health care providers and institutions the right NOT to perform abortions due to conscientious objection.

Still, 189 Members of Congress would allow hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical institutions and personnel to be forced to be involved in abortions! Among them are 24 Republicans. They are: Bass (NH); Gilman (NY); Leach (IA); Biggert (IL); Greenwood (PA); Miller, Dan (FL); Boehlert (NY) ; Horn (CA); Morella (MD); Bono (CA); Houghton (NY); Ose (CA); Castle (DE); Johnson (CT); Shays (CT); Frelinghuysen (NJ); Kelly (NY); Simmons (CT); Gibbons (NV); Kirk (IL); Sweeney (NY); Gilchrest (MD); Kolbe (AZ); and Thomas (CA).

37 Democrats voted for the bill. The votes of pro­life Democrats are essential to the passage of pro­life legislation because they provide a counter­balance to the too­ large number of RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) who support the agenda of the abortion industry. Democratic Members who voted for H.R. 4691 are: Barcia (MI); Berry (AR); Borski (PA); Clement (TN); Costello (IL); Cramer (AL); Doyle (PA); Gordon (TN); Hall (TX); Holden (PA); John (LA); Kanjorski (PA); Kildee (MI); LaFalce (NY); Langevin (RI); Lipinski (IL); Lucas (KY); Lynch (MA); McIntyre (NC); Mollohan (WV); Murtha (PA); Neal (MA); Oberstar (MN); Obey (WI); Ortiz (TX); Peterson (MN); Phelps (IL); Pomeroy (ND); Rahall (WV); Roemer (IN); Ross (AR); Shows (MS); Skelton (MO); Stenholm (TX); Stupak (MI); Tanner (TN); and Taylor (MS).

Success of the bill in the Senate is doubtful as long as Democrats remain in control and pro­abortion Republicans continue to work with them to oppose pro­life legislation.

If your representative is on either list, please call to register your disapproval or your thanks. Capitol Switchboard -- 202/224­3121.


Republican National Coalition for Life    Box 618    Alton    Illinois 62002
618-462-5415    Fax: 618-462-8909    E-mail