LIFE DIGEST: Ruling may draw abortion-seeking teens to Ky.;
By Tom Strode
Jan 21, 2011


WASHINGTON (BP)--A Kentucky court ruling could make the state a popular destination for pregnant teenagers who seek abortions without their parents' knowledge.

A 2-1 opinion by a panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals said judges in the state may give permission for abortions to teens from other states, according to The Louisville Courier-Journal. The judges in the majority acknowledged their ruling could lead to "forum shopping," the newspaper reported. They used the term to describe a situation in which a minor would travel to Kentucky seeking a favorable ruling from a judge after her request for a judicial bypass under a parental notification or consent law in her home state is rejected.

Margie Montgomery, executive director of Kentucky Right to Life, told The Courier-Journal she feared the decision could turn the state into a sanctuary for abortion-minded girls from other states.

A pro-life advocate in Washington, D.C., said on his blog that the Jan. 11 ruling demonstrates why Congress needs to pass the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act. That bill would prohibit a minor from being transported to another state to avoid a parental involvement law in her home state.

"It is clearly in the role of the U.S. Congress to make sure that one state does not move to undermine the laws and parental rights of another state," said Tom McClusky, senior vice president of Family Research Council Action.

"That the Republicans failed to pass this common sense legislation the years they were in charge of both chambers of Congress and the presidency speaks a lot to how they squandered those years. Now that they have a second chance, will they go for it and do the right thing or take the easier path and do nothing?"

VANDERBILT CLARIFIES -- Vanderbilt University Medical Center revised its nurse residency application Jan. 12 to make clear it will not require participants to assist in abortions.

The change took place after the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which defends the rights of pro-life advocates and religious adherents, filed a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services. Federal law bars recipients of U.S. funds from requiring health care workers and students to participate in abortions if doing so violates their religious or moral beliefs.

ADF, which filed the complaint on behalf of two pro-life nursing students at other universities who sought to apply to Vanderbilt's residency program, said a page of the application included: "If you are chosen for the Nurse Residency Program in the Women's Health track, you will be expected to care for women undergoing termination of pregnancy. Procedures performed in the Labor and Delivery unit include ... terminations of pregnancy.... If you feel you cannot provide care to women during this type of event, we encourage you to apply to a different track of the Nurse Residency Program...."

Vanderbilt denied that the language required residents to participate in abortions but revised the page a day later. Debbianne Peterman, director of nursing education and professional development, apologized to applicants and told them Vanderbilt workers can choose not to participate in abortions based on religious or moral reasons, the Nashville Tennessean reported.

ADF legal counsel Matt Bowman said in a written statement, "Christians and other pro-life members of the medical community shouldn't be forced to participate in abortions to pursue their profession. That's what federal law says, and that's why Vanderbilt is doing the right thing in changing its policy and application."

NYC STILL ABORTION CAPITAL -- New York City continues to be the abortion capital of the United States.

The city's latest statistics showed 41 percent of pregnancies, apart from miscarriages, end in abortion, The New York Sun reported Jan. 6. The figures, which were for 2009, had changed little in the last five years.

The rate of abortion among non-whites is stunning. Of the 87,273 abortions performed, 40,798 were on black women. That compared with 27,405 live births to blacks during 2009, according to The Sun. Hispanic women had the second highest total of abortions at 28,364, according to LifeNews.com. The Sun reported that black teenagers had 2,791 abortions for every 1,000 live births.

"The Statue of Liberty should be the symbol of this city, not the grim reaper," said Timothy Dolan, New York's Roman Catholic archbishop, according to The Sun.

In October, a measure was introduced in the New York City Council that would provide even more of an advantage to the city's abortion industry. That legislation would require pregnancy care centers to post signs informing clients that they do not provide abortions and contraceptives or refer to organizations that do.

ADS TARGET BLACK ABORTIONS -- African American pro-lifers are leading an effort that will place 70 billboards in the Los Angeles area in an attempt to reduce the abortion rate among blacks.

Blacks comprise about 13 percent of the U.S. population, according to a 2009 Census Bureau estimate, but undergo about 37 percent of all abortions, the Guttmacher Institute reported in 2008.

"The impact of abortion in the African American community is the Darfur of America," said Walter Hoye, president of the Issues4Life Foundation, which is a cosponsor of the billboards. Darfur is the western region of Sudan in which the country's militant Islamic regime has backed a genocidal campaign against some of its citizens.

The billboards feature a close-up photo of a black child with the words: "Black children are an endangered species." They include the website address "toomanyaborted.com/ca."
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Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.

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