Thursday, March 02, 2006

Apocalypse Now!

God is cool.
~Donna out



Barbour says he'd likely sign bill to ban most abortions in Miss.
Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. - Republican Gov. Haley Barbour said Wednesday that he likely would sign a bill to ban most abortions in Mississippi if it's approved by lawmakers.

The state already has some of the strictest abortion laws in the nation. The bill that passed the House Public Health Committee on Tuesday would allow abortion only to save the pregnant woman's life. It would make no exception in cases of rape or incest.

South Dakota lawmakers passed a similar bill last week that was intended to provoke a court showdown over the legality of abortion.

Responding to questions about whether he'd sign a bill with no exceptions for rape or incest, Barbour said: "It hasn't gotten to my desk yet. When one gets there, we'll find out, and I suspect I'll sign it. But I would certainly rather it come to my desk with an exception for rape and incest. I think that's consistent with the opinion of the vast majority of Mississippians and Americans."
The bill goes to the full House, which could vote next week. Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, said he believes it will pass the House and move to the Senate.

McCoy told The Associated Press that although he opposes abortion, he always has been willing to make an exception for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

"As I live longer and longer, the harder and harder it has become for me to accept abortion, period," McCoy said.

He said he'll listen to arguments on both sides of the issue. He said not allowing exceptions for rape or incest would be "pretty tough."

"It's also for those of us who don't believe in abortion to think about the taking of a human life, regardless of how it got started to be on this earth," McCoy said.

Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, a Republican, said she hasn't had a chance to read the House proposal.
"I think this body will look very strongly on pro-life issues," said Tuck, who presides over the Senate.

The lawmaker who introduced the near-ban, House Public Health Committee Chairman Steve Holland said he acted because he was tired of piecemeal attempts to add new abortion restrictions each year.

Holland, D-Plantersville, said he has voted for some abortion restrictions and against others in the past.

Mississippi already requires a 24-hour waiting period and counseling for all abortions, plus the consent of both parents for minors who seek the procedure.

The state has one abortion clinic, in Jackson, and its leaders plan to fight if more restrictions are imposed.

Also, Nsombi Lambright, executive director of the American Civil Liberties in Mississippi, said her office had been contacted Wednesday by other abortion-rights groups that might sue Mississippi if the new restrictions become law.

"That's more of the state's legal resources going to something that didn't' have to happen," Lambright said.

Terri Herring, president of Pro-Life Mississippi, said she hopes the state will outlaw abortion, but she's not certain whether there's a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court willing to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling establishing the right to an abortion.
"We feel like we are still one justice short of being able to overturn Roe," Herring said.
The South Dakota legislation went to Republican Gov. Mike Rounds on Tuesday, and he has 15 days to act. Rounds has said he's inclined to sign the bill into law.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Supreme ruling!

Supreme Court rules against abortion clinics
Justices rule anti-abortion protests may not be banned using extortion laws

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court dealt a setback Tuesday to abortion clinics in a two-decade-old legal fight over anti-abortion protests, ruling that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations.

Anti-abortion groups brought the appeal after the 7th Circuit had asked a trial judge to determine whether a nationwide injunction could be supported by charges that protesters had made threats of violence absent a connection with robbery or extortion.

The 8-0 decision ends a case that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had kept alive despite a 2003 decision by the high court that lifted a nationwide injunction on anti-abortion groups led by Joseph Scheidler and others.

In Tuesday’s ruling, Justice Stephen Breyer said Congress did not intend to create “a freestanding physical violence offense” in the federal extortion law known as the Hobbs Act.

Instead, Breyer wrote, Congress chose to address violence outside abortion clinics in 1994 by passing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which set parameters for such protests.
NBC analysis

The Supreme Court's ruling is a setback for abortion groups, taking away a powerful weapon they had used against organized protesters.

There has been a significant development since the National Organization for Women began its legal campaign against abortion protesters years ago: Congress passed the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) law, which makes it a crime to engage some of the behavior the women's groups originally targeted.

Even so, women's groups are sure to see the ruling as a blow for two reasons. First, it takes away a weapon they used to strike at the finances of abortion protesters, by suing for money damages. And second, many women's groups find FACE unsatisfying, because it depends on the willingness of local prosecutors to invoke it.

--Pete Williams, NBC Justice Correspondent
Social activists and the AFL-CIO had sided with anti-abortion protesters in arguing that similar lawsuits and injunctions could be used to thwart their efforts to change public policy or agitate for better wages and working conditions.

Long-running battle
The legal battle began in 1986, when the National Organization for Women filed a class-action suit challenging tactics used by the Pro-Life Action Network to block women from entering abortion clinics.

NOW’s legal strategy was novel at the time, relying on civil provisions of the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was used predominantly in criminal cases against organized crime. The lawsuit also relied on the Hobbs Act, a 55-year-old law banning extortion.

A federal judge issued a nationwide injunction against the anti-abortion protesters after a Chicago jury found in 1998 that demonstrators had engaged in a pattern of racketeering by interfering with clinic operations, menacing doctors, assaulting patients and damaging clinic property.

But the Supreme Court voided the injunction in 2003, ruling that the extortion law could not be used against the protesters because they had not illegally “obtained property” from women seeking to enter clinics to receive abortions.

Justice Samuel Alito did not participate in the decision.

The cases are Scheidler v. NOW, 04-1244, and Operation Rescue v. NOW, 04-1352.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Holy smokes it's Hokey Spokes!

Hokey Spokes
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