Pro-Life News: Giuliani and Abortion, Mexico City, Malta, John Edwards

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 28, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life News: Giuliani and Abortion, Mexico City, Malta, John Edwards Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 28
, 2007

Media Reports on Giuliani and Partial-Birth Abortion Didn’t Mention Flip-Flop
Washington, DC ( —
Several reports immediately following the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 noted Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani’s statement applauding the decision, but did not note the apparent inconsistency between his April 18 statement and the position he took in 2000 against the "partial-birth abortion" ban passed by Congress in 1997. Reports by Fox News and the Associated Press and posts on the political weblogs of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal all noted Giuliani’s statement praising the court’s decision while omitting reference to his previously expressed opposition to the ban. Giuliani stated on April 18: "The Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion in upholding the congressional ban on partial birth abortion. I agree with it." But in 2000, Giuliani said he agreed with President Clinton’s veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1997, saying then — in response to a question about whether if he, as a senator, would have "vote[d] with the president or against the president" — that he would have "vote[d] to preserve the option for women." On the February 5 edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, when Giuliani expressed support for the current law banning "partial-birth abortion," co-host Sean Hannity pressed him about the apparent reversal. Giuliani attempted to reconcile his two positions by stating that he supports such bans only when they contain a "provision for the life of the mother." But several federal bills banning "partial-birth abortion" proposed from 1997 through 2000 — including the one Clinton vetoed in 1997 — also provided "an exception to save a mother’s life who is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury." So, while the presence of a life-of-the-woman exception was previously not enough to win Giuliani’s support for a ban, such an exception is apparently now sufficient.

Mexico City Abortion Law Takes Effect, Government Clinics Ready to Do Them
Mexico City, Mexico ( —
The new abortion law in Mexico City allowing abortions up to 14 weeks into pregnancy has taken effect and city officials say that government-run clinics are preparing to begin doing abortions. The bill the capital city’s legislative assembly approved requires the clinics to do the abortions for any poor person and for anyone having the city’s health insurance. City Health Secretary Manuel Mondragón said Thursday preparations have already been made for 14 of the 28 municipally operated hospitals to provide abortions at no cost. The new law gives 60 days for the city government to establish guidelines and procedures for implementing the requirement to do abortions on women unable to use private hospitals or clinics. Mondragón said guidelines could be published by next week and said that 858 physicians and 1,875 nurses will receive mandatory abortion training. However, he said that most government clinics should be able to do abortions because they have been allowed in cases of rape or incest or fetal abnormalities. He said as many as 7,000 abortions had been done annual under those circumstances. Meanwhile, President Felipe Calderon is helping to reduce the number of places doing abortions but not allowing them in federal Social Security hospitals in the city.

Malta Pro-Life Group Doesn’t Want Dutch Abortion Ship to Come There
Valletta, Malta ( —
The leading pro-life group on the island nation of Malta, which is predominantly Catholic, says it doesn’t want the Dutch abortion ship coming there. The pro-abortion group behind the converted tugboat has said that Malta, as well as Ireland and Poland and possible South American nations, is on the itinerary. "We have been calling for better protection for the unborn in Malta for two and a half years now and we have repeatedly warned everyone of this possibility," said the pro-life group Gift of Life in a statement. "These people will never give up until abortion is legalized in Malta. "Women on Waves were actively involved in the recent Portuguese pro-abortion campaign where abortion was legalized for any reason up to the 12 weeks of pregnancy. We are eager to know who their Maltese contacts are as this vessel always operates with representatives who are already embedded in the target country." The group said that the abortion advocates claim to help women but provide no post-abortion help for the women who struggle with physical, mental health and emotional problems afterwards. The group calls on the Maltese government to move forward with an amendment to the nation’s constitution giving unborn children full legal protection. The nation currently has pro-life laws on the books prohibiting abortions. "Not taking a clear united stand will send the message that Malta is not united on this issue will encourage this ship and others also to come to Malta to lobby and campaign with even more determination," Gift of Life said.

Former NARAL President Kate Michelman Still Backs Democrat John Edwards
Washington, DC ( —
Former NARAL president Kate Michelman isn’t following her friends at Emily’s List in supporting the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton or getting on the Barack Obama bandwagon. Instead, she’s backing former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and has been since last year as she advises him on abortion issues. Michelman recently wrote a fundraising for Edwards to try to get more money for his campaign. Saying she "dedicated my adult life to advancing " abortion, she said she was "angry and alarmed about the future" because the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the national ban on partial-birth abortions. "It is nothing less than the greatest blow to a woman’s right to reproductive freedom since that right was first guaranteed more than 30 years ago," she wrote. "This is one of the most important reasons all of us—but especially women—must be fiercely committed to electing a Democratic president in 2008 who will protect and defend our rights. And that is why I am so strongly committed to electing John Edwards," she wrote. "I believe that out of all the candidates, John has the strongest commitment to the issues that matter most ," she concluded.

Michigan Residents Oppose Human Cloning, Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Lansing, MI ( –
– A statewide poll commissioned by the Michigan Catholic Conference reinforces the organization’s position that Michigan residents are overwhelmingly opposed to measures that would clone and destroy human embryos for research purposes. While embryonic stem cell research proponents have begun focusing on claims that the research will benefit the state’s lagging economy, less than 33 percent of those surveyed would vote to eliminate Michigan’s human cloning ban. "This poll lends helpful insight to the attitude of Michigan residents and their feelings toward embryonic stem cell research, especially when the important detail of cloning and destroying human embryos is addressed," said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy Paul Long. Only 32 percent of those polled would vote yes on a "proposal that would eliminate Michigan’s ban on the cloning of human embryos" while 65 percent said they would oppose it. Meanwhile, just 34 percent of Michigan residents support "stem cell research that clones human embryos so the stem cells can be removed" while 59 percent oppose the practice. Another 70 percent opposed "stem cell research that kills the human embryo so the stem cells can be removed" and 73 percent agreed with a statement that we shouldn’t use human cloning to fight diseases. Some 85 percent of those poled back adult stem cell research. The poll, which has a margin of error of 4.38 percent, was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies April 15-16 and surveyed 500 likely voters.

Florida Legislature Expands Unborn Victims Law to Cover All Women, Babies
Tallahassee, FL ( —
The Florida legislature has approved a bill that would hold criminals better accountable when they kill a pregnant mother and her unborn child. Currently the state only allows prosecutors to charge such assailants with two crimes for both deaths when the crime involves an "unborn quick child. The bill would change state law to protect pregnant women and their unborn children throughout pregnancy. Under current statute, the term "unborn quick child" is the same as the term "viable fetus," which is defined as "capable of meaningful life outside the womb through standard medical measures." The bill says the charges can be brought for killing an unborn child "at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb." The federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act has a similar definition and was signed by President Bush in 2004. Though the House approved the bill, observers say it will have a difficult time in the Senate. It passed 76-39 with mostly Republicans in favor and Democrats against. Supporters of the bill (HB 71) noted that the language in the legislation would give Florida the same definition as federal law. The bill has the support of Florida Right to Life.

Texas Man Arrested Who Brought Bomb to Austin Abortion Facility
Austin, TX ( —
A 27-year-old man has been arrested and taken into custody who allegedly left a duffel bag with a bomb at an Austin abortion facility this week. The bag containing explosives was left in the parking lot of the Austin Women’s Health Center abortion facility. Paul Ross Evans was charged with use of weapons of mass destruction, manufacture of explosive material and violating freedom of access to clinic entrances, according to a statement issued by the Austin Police Department. "We’ve got an ongoing investigation into him and all of his particulars," Erik Vasys, San Antonio-based spokesman for the FBI, told AP. Evans is on parole for a burglary conviction, authorities said and appears to have no connection to any pro-life group. He was crying as he made an initial appearance before a federal magistrate Friday afternoon and had an attorney appointed for him. Officials offered no motive for why it was placed there. Texas Alliance for Life director Joe Pojman said that pro-life advocates are peaceful people and that any political movement has individual vigilantes that act on their own wrongheaded ideas. "We get painted with the same brush as someone who is a criminal. We only condone peaceful legal activities," he said. Pojman pointed to the activities of groups like the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center and its various pregnancy resource centers across the city that help pregnant women in need.

Iowa Senate Bans Taxpayer Funding for Partial-Birth Abortions
Des Moines, IA ( —
Just one week after the Supreme Court upheld a national ban on partial-birth abortions, the Iowa Senate voted to end taxpayer funding of the abortion procedure under its Medicaid system. In a 37-13 vote late Wednesday, the Senate amended a health budget bill to ban funding. "This is not a medically necessary procedure," said the sponsor, Sen. David Johnson, a Republican from Ocheyedan. The ban may be ceremonial as Johnson said he wasn’t aware of any partial-birth abortions taking place in the state or any taxpayer funds used on them. He said the goal of the amendment was to get language from the Supreme Court ruling in Iowa statute to help the state limit abortions down the road. All 20 Republicans and 17 Democrats voted for the amendment. All 13 "no" votes were from Democrats. Sen. Jack Hatch, a Des Moines Democrat, was the only one to speak against the bill. It now heads to the state House where it will likely get a vote next week.

Wisconsin Attorney General to Determine if Partial-Birth Abortion Ban OK
Madison, WI ( —
Wisconsin’s attorney general will find out if last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on partial-birth abortions legalizes an even tougher ban in the Badger State. The Wisconsin law has been on the books since 1998, but it has not been enforced since 2000, when the Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Nebraska. Now, two Republican legislative leaders have asked Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to see if the Wisconsin law can go back into effect, now that the justices in Washington have upheld a national ban on partial-birth abortions from 2003. The state’s ban calls for life in prison for any abortion practitioner who does one. Mike Huebsch, Assembly speaker, and Scott Fitzgerald, Senate minority leader, authored the state’s ban and they asked Van Hollen for a ruling Monday. Planned Parenthood says there is probably no legal way the state law could be reimposed.