DAILY CATHOLIC MONDAY November 9, 1998 vol. 9, no. 219
NEWS & VIEWS
US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FORMS ABORTION TASK FORCE AS KENTUCKY PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION BAN OVERTURNED AND CUBA PRO-LIFE DOCTOR ATTACKED IN HAVANA WHILE IN CANADA ARCHBISHOP SUPPORTS EDITORIAL ON ABORTION KILLING
WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The Justice Department on Thursday announced the formation of a new federal task force to investigate violence and threats against abortion clinics, including the recent shooting of an abortionist in New York and anthrax threats made against clinics in three states.
Associate Attorney General Raymond Fisher said the task force's mission is still being outlined and will be officially announced next week. The group will include one or more grand juries to help gather evidence and will bring together doctors' groups, pro-abortion activists, the FBI, US Marshals, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and local police in the US and Canada.
Fisher said recent developments made the task force necessary. "It's a very, very troubling development because you have women and health care providers who are engaged in what is their perfect right, constitutional right, to have health care services," Fisher said. "And you have violence which is being directed at these people, and it's not something we can tolerate."
This malaise continued with the announcement from Frankfort, Kentucky that a federal judge on Thursday overturned a Kentucky law banning partial-birth abortions, calling the law unconstitutional because it is too vague.
US District Judge John Heyburn II said the law passed this year too broadly defines the prohibited procedure, and abortionists performing legal abortions could fear prosecution under the law, which makes it unconstitutional. He also said the law did not include an exception for partial-birth abortions to save the life or health of the mother.
The attorney general's office said it had not yet made a decision on whether to appeal the decision.
In Havana, Cuba a group of vandals, believed to be associated with the Cuban secret police, have attacked a home that housed the family of one of the country's leading pro-life activists.
Oscar Elias Biscet Gonzalez, a doctor and the founder of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights-- which works against abortion and the death penalty in Cuba-- has been the subject of repeated assaults over the past several months. To avoid danger, his wife and son had been living with an elderly woman in Havana. But last Saturday night, that woman's house was attacked by a group of toughs who broke windows, destroyed the locks with a corrosive fluid, and painted the front of the house with graffiti, including one that read, "Traitor."
According to an underground newspaper in Havana, the attack was "another indirect act of hostility by the secret police" against Gonzalez. The paper said that this was only the latest in "a long list of indirect aggressions suffered in recent months by his wife, Elsa Morejon Hernandez, and his son."
Meanwhile, a Canadian newspaper identified a man who delivered pro-life packages to the newspaper as James Charles Kopp, the man being sought by the FBI as a material witness in the murder of abortionist Barnett Slepian last month.
Meanwhile in British Columbia, Archbishop Adam Exner of Vancouver stood behind the editor of his diocesan newspaper on Thursday, saying an editorial on the slaying of a US abortionist may not have been well-worded but was essentially correct.
Editor Paul Schratz wrote in an editorial in the British Columbia Catholic newspaper that the shooting of Barnett Slepian was wrong, but added: "How can anyone help but be pleased that murders of abortionists just might have some positive side effects?" Schratz argued that by scaring abortionists away from performing the procedure the evil act may produce good results.
"Fewer doctors are willing to face the stigma, and now the
threat of personal harm, associated with performing
abortions," he wrote. "It just goes to show that our
all-powerful and all-loving God can bring good from any
evil situation." Archbishop Exner told the Vancouver Sun
newspaper, "I think it's unfortunate he worded it the way
he did. But that doesn't mean to say the substance of the
editorial is not correct. That particular paragraph is not
well-worded." He added that the Church is clear that there
is no justification for killing abortionists.
Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
NEWS & VIEWS