DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     July 2, 1998     vol. 9, no. 128

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

JUDGE CONSIDERS NEW RESTRICTIONS ON PRO-LIFE PROTESTS WHILE IN FLORIDA PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION BAN BLOCKED

          CHICAGO (CWNews.com) - A federal judge on Tuesday heard arguments from abortionists who want him to impose further restrictions on pro-life protesters because they said the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act has not accomplished its purpose.

          US District Judge David Coar held the hearing as part of the judgement phase of civil lawsuit brought by abortion providers against pro-life demonstrators who successfully sued them for forming an illegal conspiracy. Lawyers for the National Organization for Women called witnesses and provided evidence that they said showed "a strategy of extortion of threatening acts against [abortion] providers." Abortionists said they are spending a burdensome amount of money for security.

          Pro-life demonstrators claimed the current laws are already burdensome enough, especially for citizens engaging in constitutionally protected free speech. Tim Murphy, one of the defendants, told jurors he no longer participates in rescues because the possibility and penalties of incarceration and fines were too high.

          Meanwhile, on the east coast two judges alternately blocked and approved two different partial-birth abortion bans in two different states on Tuesday.

          US District Judge Donald Graham on Tuesday blocked the Florida law which was due to go into effect on the same day, saying it "appears to pose a threat" to the right to abortion as defined in the 1973 US Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision. He also said the law may endanger the health of mothers seeking the procedure. Opponents of the law say its vague wording could also be construed to prohibit two common types of abortions performed in the first and second trimesters.

          In Virginia, Judge J. Michael Luttig of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a state judge's order issued last week that blocked a partial-birth abortion ban in that state while a legal challenge was mounted against that measure. Similar laws have been passed in 28 states, but 16 of them have had the bans blocked either temporarily or permanently.


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July 2, 1998       volume 9, no. 128
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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