DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     May 15, 1998     vol. 9, no. 95

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - Just days after promising pro-family conservative groups to step up support of key social issues, Republican congressional leaders pushed forward a bill on Wednesday that would make it illegal to transport a girl under 18 years old across state lines for an abortion to avoid parental notification laws.

          The ban would not apply if the girl's life is in danger. Supporters of the bill say it is necessary to protect parental rights and vulnerable girls, while critics claimed girls from dysfunctional homes would suffer. The Clinton administration said the president is reviewing the bill and has not decided whether he would sign it. A spokesman said the bill raises constitutional, enforcement, and policy questions. Twenty-nine states require permission from a parent, guardian, or judge before a girl can undergo an abortion.

          GOP leaders have said they will put the measure on the fast track in the House and Senate. "I would think that virtually every member of the House and Senate should find it possible to protect 13-year-olds and should find it possible to protect the parents' right to know and give consent by voting for this legislation," House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia, said. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, joined other Republicans to criticize abortion clinics for advertising the lack of parental notification laws or waiting periods in their states, which they said encourages people to try to circumvent the laws.

          In a related story out of Sioux Falls, the South Dakota legislature has passed a bill to go into effect on July 1 that would protect pharmacists who refuse to prescribe drugs that can be used for abortion, suicide, or euthanasia.

          The law, the first of its kind in the US, would shield pharmacists from being sued or fired for refusing to dispense certain drugs. The measure stems from cases such as that of Jeff Gallagher who was told last year to comply with his clinic's policy of providing rape victims with so-called "morning after" pills that induce spontaneous abortions. Gallagher said his religious beliefs as a Catholic conflicted with the order and successfully appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

          Although critics said the law would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship by allowing the pharmacist to second-guess a physician's orders, supporters said pharmacists make judgments about prescriptions all the time, such as making sure a drug does not interact with other medication the patient is taking.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

May 15, 1998       volume 9, no. 95


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