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In the Womb - Animals

elephant_in_the_womb.jpgKathleen Parker recommends the documentary "In the Womb: Animals" to be shown on the National Geographic Channel on December 10:

The film...may be the best weapon yet for the pro-life movement. That wasn't the purpose of the documentary -- the first ever to record animals in the womb -- but these images of gestating life pack a powerful wallop. The mind makes a natural leap to questions of how we consider and treat the pre-born.

Court: Groups Must Offer Contraceptives

From an AP article of the same title on beliefnet:

New York's highest court ruled Thursday that social service agencies run by the Roman Catholic Church and other faiths must provide birth-control coverage to their employees, even if they consider contraception a sin. The 6-0 decision by the Court of Appeals hinged on whether Catholic Charities and the nine other groups are essentially social service agencies, not churches. At issue was a 2002 state law that requires employers to provide health insurance coverage for mammograms, bone density screening and other preventive services for women, including prescription contraceptives. The law exempts churches, seminaries and other institutions with a mainly religious mission. Catholic Charities and the other groups sued the state for an exemption but lost in the lower courts.

Abortion ban closer in Nicaragua

From an article of the same title on

A Nicaraguan parliamentary committee has approved draft legislation to ban all abortions, including in cases where the mother's life is at risk. The legislation will now be debated at a national assembly hearing before a final vote next week. If the law is passed, doctors carrying out abortions could face up to 30 years in prison. At present, abortion is only permitted in Nicaragua in instances where the life of the mother is in danger. The call for a complete ban has mainly come from the Roman Catholic and evangelical churches. The bill - which is widely expected to be approved - has come amid campaigning for the country's presidential election in November.

From an article titled "Nicaragua Passes Total Ban on Abortion" by Marc Lacey in the NY Times:

Nicaragua's legislature on Thursday banned all abortions, eliminating exceptions for rape and when the life of the mother is threatened. The measure, expected to be approved by President Enrique Bolaños, was voted in 52 to 0, with 9 abstentions and 29 representatives not showing up to vote. Nicaragua joins El Salvador and Chile as the only countries in the Western hemisphere to ban abortion without exception. But across Latin America, abortion is outlawed except in rare circumstances. It is readily available only in Cuba and a few English-speaking Caribbean countries... Health officials estimate that 32,000 illegal abortions are performed every year in Nicaragua, most of them unsafe. Advocates of the ban hope to reduce that number by making doctors and patients think about the consequences. Opponents of the law maintain that prohibiting the ending of problematic pregnancies will only lead to more clandestine abortions. Nicaragua now allows abortions if three doctors agree that the mother's life would be in danger. This amounted to a total of six legal abortions in 2002, the last year for which data is available. Health officials say that the number has remained in the single digits since. Illegal abortions can be punished with jail terms of up to six years for the woman and the doctor. Lawmakers put off discussion of sentences under the new law, though far stricter terms are expected to be added.


Abortion chic

In an opinion piece of the same title in the Orlando Sentinel, Kathleen Parker comments on a current campaign in Ms. Magazine:

As public-relations campaigns go, proudly proclaiming "We Had Abortions" probably isn't going to win any Addy awards. Such is the gist of Ms. Magazine's current campaign to thwart trends toward curtailment of abortion. The Oct. 10 issue of the feminist magazine features a cover story titled "We Had Abortions," as well as a petition signed by thousands of women who, well, have had abortions. And who are not one bit sorry. The campaign was organized to put a woman's face on abortion, as Ms. Magazine publisher Eleanor Smeal put it, and as a counterpunch to pro-life testimonials from women who regretted their abortions. The fact that many women feel shame, guilt and loss -- and are willing to say so -- has created a snag in the fabric of pro-choice arguments that focus only on the technical aspect of abortion… The problem with petitions and "I Had An Abortion" T-shirts, such as those hawked by Planned Parenthood, is that they trivialize the deeply emotional and spiritual consequences many women suffer. They also deny girls and young women access to the nobler feminist position that knowledge is power. We insist on informed consent for appendectomies or tooth extractions, but not abortions. As a result, American daughters now coming of age will see only the go-girl aspect of sexual freedom without the whoa-mama revelation of maternal awe. The latter isn't learned from a textbook, but is experienced during that moment of personal reckoning when one realizes that a fetus is unequivocally a baby. My own transformative thinking -- from an unflinching pro-choicer to a disclaiming pro-lifer -- came with childbirth and motherhood. After experiencing the humbling power of creation, it was impossible for me to view abortion as anything but the taking of a life. That is the truer lesson feminism should impart to its little sisters. Now for the painful disclaimer I hinted at above. It begins with "Nevertheless," and ends with "I am reluctantly pro-choice." The very bottom line is that abortion ultimately is a personal decision. That said, I favor far stricter limits than most pro-choicers, beginning with "six weeks and time's up."


Woman gives birth to grandchild

From an article of the same title on

A Japanese woman in her 50s gave birth to her own grandchild last year, using an egg from her daughter and sperm from her son-in-law, a doctor has revealed. It was the first time a woman has acted as a surrogate mother for her daughter in Japan, local media reported. The case is set to stir debate in Japan where surrogate births are opposed by the government and a key medical group. Japan's justice ministry also views the woman who gives birth as a child's mother - not the biological mother… She had agreed to in vitro fertilisation and to act as a surrogate mother because her daughter had had her uterus removed due to cancer and was therefore unable to bear children. Both the mother and child were reported to be in good health… Surrogate births involve removing an egg to be fertilised and then implanting it in another woman who carries the baby to birth.


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