DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     June 12, 1998     vol. 9, no. 114

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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KANSAS PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION BAN CHALLENGED IN COURT WHILE IN D.C. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUES PRO-LIFE PROTESTERS

          TOPEKA, Kansas (CWNews.com) - A Wichita abortionist filed a legal challenge in the Kansas state Supreme Court on Wednesday against a new law banning partial-birth abortions, just days after it was signed by Gov. Bill Graves and before it goes into effect on July 1.

          George Tiller of the Women's Health Care Services asked for an injunction against the new law until the justices have determined its constitutionality. The lawsuit contends that the new law is vague, has unconstitutional reporting requirements, "and places unconstitutional limits on a woman's right to an abortion." The law prohibits abortions of viable unborn children after 22 weeks' of pregnancy and requires detailed reporting of abortions to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

          Dave Gittrich, a spokesman for Kansans for Life, said the organization would file briefs in support of the law. "This bill hurts his business, and now he's challenging it," Gittrich said of Tiller. "It goes to show that he has been aborting babies that can live outside the womb, and that comprises a considerable amount of his business."

          Tiller, in urging the court to hear the case, said it should take the action now because if the case is filed in a lower court, appeals eventually will bring it before the justices anyway. The court is expected to decide before the end of the month whether to hear the case, dismiss it, or send it to a district court.

          While challenges were being made in the midwest, in the east the US Justice Department on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against 17 pro-life protesters who demonstrated in front of a Washington abortion clinic in January.

          The Rev. Flip Benham, director of Operation Rescue, and the other defendants blocked the entrance to an abortion clinic on January 24, the anniversary of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. The government is asking for an injunction against the pro-life advocates, preventing them from further picketing, under the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

          The suit says Benham and two others led a group of protesters to the clinic and told the group to block the building's three doors. "By sitting and standing in front of the entrances, the defendants effectively rendered them, impassable," Justice Department lawyers said.


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June 12, 1998       volume 9, no. 114
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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