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« on: December 11, 2004, 04:20:10 AM »

Christian Legal, Pro-Life Groups Come to Defense of PBA Ban

by Jody Brown and Bill Fancher
December 10, 2004

(AgapePress) - A coalition of Christian pro-life, pro-family organizations has gone to court in Missouri to express its support of the Congressional ban on the barbaric procedure known as partial-birth abortion. Attorneys for the group argue the procedure is never necessary to protect the life of the mother -- a stipulation that courts have used to prevent implementation of the Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003.

The groups involved in the legal action include several high-profile evangelical ministries in America -- Focus on the Family, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Southern Baptist Convention -- and activist-oriented organizations such as Concerned Women for America and Family Research Council. Also included are the Christian Medical and Dental Associations and the Alliance Defense Fund. All of them have a deep commitment to preserving the sanctity of life -- and that is why the Christian Legal Society's Center for Law & Religious Freedom (CLRF) filed a "friend of the court" brief on their behalf on December 8 before the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.

Since President Bush signed the partial-birth abortion ban into law in early November 2003, it has been held up in court by challenges from pro-abortion advocates. Almost before the ink was dry on the bill, those activists' challenges popped up in Nebraska, California, and New York. Critical to their arguments was the lack of an exemption taking into account the health of the mother. It is that element of the law that the pro-life coalition represented by the CLRF is bringing to the forefront in the ongoing litigation.

Steven Aden, chief litigation counsel for the CLRF, says the lower court in Nebraska, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Eighth Court of Appeals, erred when it concluded the U.S. Constitution requires that PABA contain an exception for the health of the mother. His firm points out that, to the contrary, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that abortion may be banned "except where it is necessary in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother."

CLRF argues that the evidence presented to the Nebraska court did not support the conclusion that the procedure is ever necessary to preserve the expectant mother's life. Aden is blunt in his explanation.

"A bare description of this barbaric procedure puts the lie to the abortion lobby's argument that delivering a baby up to its head then crushing its skull could every be 'necessary' to preserve the mother's health," the attorney says. Aden also harks back to events leading up to the president's signature on the ban.

"Congress properly reflected the will of the majority of the American people when it determined to put a stop to the practice of slaughtering innocents who are inches from birth," he says.

The measure originated in the House of Representatives, where it passed in June 2003 on a 282-139 vote. It then proceeded to the Senate where, on October 21, it passed 64-34. It was presented to President Bush on October 28 and was signed on November 5.

Where is America Going?
Pro-lifers in America are hopeful efforts to ban partial-birth abortion entirely will not prove fruitless. Some are concerned that otherwise, the U.S. is going the way of the Netherlands where, says an American Christian doctor, the Dutch are quickly heading to the bottom of the slippery slope of legalized euthanasia. He fears America is not far behind.

Dr. Bob Orr of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations says he is concerned about the debate in the Netherlands on whether doctors should make the decision on whose lives should be legally terminated and when. He says it is alarming that more decision power is being given to physicians.

"In Western society, at least, in the last 30 years, we've said 'wait a minute -- patients really have a right to contribute to such decisions,'" he shares. "But I think this latest move is just an example of a throwback to the idea that the doctor really is in charge and the doctor really should decide when a patient's life should end."

Orr says when suicide became legal in the Netherlands, there were guidelines established. "[The patient] had to do it voluntarily; they had to be competent, they had to be suffering, and so on," he explains. "And over the last 20 years, we've seen just one expansion and one abuse after another."

Now the debate is over expanding those guidelines, he adds. "They've expanded them to include people with severe depression, people who are suffering but are not able to request it because they're too sick, [as well as] adolescents [and] infants," he says.

Dr. Orr says it is a tragic situation in the Netherlands -- and that the United States will be facing the same issue if more states like Oregon decide to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion01960.shtml

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