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LIFE DIGEST: D.C. funds 300 abortions
Posted on Jul 15, 2011 | by Tom Strode

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WASHINGTON (BP)--The District of Columbia paid for at least 300 abortions in the brief time Congress and President Obama lifted the ban on funding for the procedures in America's capital.

In 2009, the Democratic-controlled Congress and Obama struck down a prohibition on money for elective abortions in D.C. that had existed nearly every year since 1988. D.C. did not implement the law until August 2010 but paid about $185,000 for abortions for low-income women until the ban was reinstated in April of this year, according to an exclusive Associated Press report July 8.

The number of abortions covered by the district during that time could increase because of claims still being processed, a D.C. spokeswoman told AP.

"The responsibility for these 300 government-funded abortions rests squarely with President Obama, who urged Congress to lift the longstanding ban in 2009, and with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who rammed through the repeal without allowing roll call votes on the issue in either house of Congress," said Douglas Johnson, the National Right to Life Committee's legislative director. "Some of these unborn children would be alive today, if it had not been for the Obama-dictated change in policy."

Previously, a measure known as the Dornan Amendment barred federal and congressionally approved local funds for D.C. from paying for elective abortions. The 2009 law said federal funding of abortions in D.C. is prohibited but local money may be used for the procedures. Pro-lifers, however, pointed out such language is meaningless in its effect, because federal and local funds are combined for the district. As a result, the D.C. government can specify as local the money used to underwrite abortions.

AP gained the figures by filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the D.C. government.

LA. ENACTS SIGN LAW--Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law July 6 a bill requiring abortion providers to post additional information for women contemplating the procedure.

The new law mandates clinics post signs that include the following information for women, according to The Baton Rouge Advocate:

-- They cannot be forced to have an abortion.

-- There are agencies available to help them before and after birth.

-- The child's father is liable for financial support.

-- Adoptive parents may pay for the costs of prenatal care and birth.

"Before police arrest someone, they inform them of all their rights under the law, so it's only common sense that we would do the same for women before they get an abortion," said Jindal, a Republican, in a statement, The Advocate reported.

The law applies to Louisiana's six licensed abortion clinics, according to the newspaper.

BRITS POST ABORTION STATS--More than 2,000 abortions were performed last year in England and Wales on babies with medical problems, including some whose conditions could have been corrected by surgery.

There were 2,290 such abortions in 2010, according to the Department of Health, which released the statistics after a British pro-life organization won a court battle to have the information made public. Of those, 147 were performed on babies after 24 weeks gestation, when a child is often considered able to survive outside the womb.

As reported July 5 by The Daily Mail, abortions for "abnormalities" included 482 for children diagnosed with Down syndrome and 128 for babies with spina bifida.

The lives of other unborn children were ended for problems that might have been alleviated by surgery -– 181 abortions for musculoskeletal problems such as a club foot and seven for a cleft palate, according to the newspaper. There were 26 abortions since 2002 for a cleft palate, it was reported.

"We have always argued that if these abortions are permitted under law, there should be no attempt whatsoever to hide details of the numbers or justifications," said Julia Millington of the ProLife Alliance, the newspaper reported. The Pro-Life Alliance sought release of the statistics

The Department of Health, which had not released such abortion data since 2001, also revealed there were 35,262 abortions on girls under 16 from 2002 through 2010. Seventy-seven were on girls under 13, according to The Daily Mail.

There were 189,574 abortions in 2010 in England and Wales, according to LifeSiteNews.

HUNGARY PROTECTS LIFE--Hungary's new constitution has elicited strong criticism for several provisions, including language protecting the right to life of an unborn child from conception.

The new constitution gained approval in April. In June, the European Commission on Democracy through Law -- a Council of Europe advisory group also known as the Venice Commission -- charged the right-to-life section could "result in restrictions on abortion that would put a number of fundamental rights for women at stake."

The European Centre for Law and Justice commended the pro-life language, saying it "is especially justified by the serious demographic problem that Hungary suffers regarding an exceedingly low fertility rate -- around 1.3 children per woman."

A birth rate of 2.1 is considered necessary to maintain a country's population.

ABORTION AD BILL PASSED--The Russian Parliament's lower house approved legislation July 1 requiring abortion advertisements to include health warnings.

The bill, which is expected to gain approval in the upper house and be signed by President Dmitry Medvedev, could help alleviate the shrinking population of a country that has one of the world's highest abortion rates, according to Reuters News Service. Russia's population decreased by about 12 million from 1992 to 2008. In 2007, Russia recorded 1.5 million abortions, which was about the same as the number of live births.

The measure would mandate that 10 percent of space in abortion ads consist of a list of the procedure's health risks for women.

"These ads make young girls believe they won't have any problems interrupting a pregnancy," said parliament member Viktor Zvagelsky, according to Reuters, which based its report on a RIA news agency account.
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Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.
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