Home. Questions and answers. Newsletters. Audio clips. Press releases. Member organizations. Join us. Contact us.

Uniting for Life

Summer, 1989


Missouri Abortion Law Upheld By U.S. Supreme Court

Washington DC (July 3) - The US Supreme Court ruled by a vote of 5 to 4 to let stand a 1986 Missouri law which restricts the state's involvement in abortion.

The decision was mixed, with three justices Rehnquist, White, and Kennedy, joining in one opinion while O'Connor and Scalia entered separate opinions.

Justice Antonin Scalia declared that Webster would be the proper case for reconsideration of Roe v. Wade and urged explicit reversal now. "To [not overrule Roe now] is to needlessly prolong this Court's involvement in a field where answers to the central questions are political rather than judicial, and thus make the Court the object of the sort of organized pressure that political institutions ought to receive."

Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Anthony Kennedy and Byron White joined in an opinion which attacked the trimester framework saying that the states should be able to provide greater protection for the unborn child. They indicated that this decision will undoubtedly allow more government regulation of abortion than was permissible before.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor supported upholding the Missouri Statute; however she indicated that this case could be decided on its own merits and did not require reconsidering Roe v. Wade at this time. "When the constitutional invalidity of a State's abortion status actually turns upon the constitutional validity of Roe, there will be time enough to re-examine Roe, and to do so carefully."

Louisa Rucker, Chairman of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, stated, "This is a significant day for the pro-life movement. The Webster decision has opened a door to a legislative process which we hope and pray will ultimately lead to restoration of legal protection for the unborn child."

Provisions of Missouri Statute

Life Begins at Conception - The preamble states that "the life of each human being begins at conception" and that "unborn children have protectable interests in life, health, and well being."

Determination of Fetal Viability - That a physician prior to performing an abortion on any woman whom he has reason to believe is 20 or more weeks pregnant, must ascertain whether the fetus is "viable" by performing "such medical tests as are necessary to make a finding of [the fetus'] gestational age, weight and lung maturity."

Bans Use of Public Employees and Facilities for Abortion - Prohibits the use of public employees and facilities to perform abortions not necessary to save a mother's life.

Prohibits Abortion Counseling - Makes it unlawful to use public funds, employees, or facilities for the purpose of "encouraging or counseling" a woman to have an abortion not necessary to save her life.

Pro-Life Religious Groups Join in Amicus Brief in Webster Case

Washington (February 24) - Eleven pro-life religious groups joined in presenting an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court supporting the constitutionality of the Missouri statute and urging restoration of legal protection for the unborn child.

The brief, which was prepared by Walter Weber, staff attorney for Free Speech Advocates, asked the Court to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by recognizing the right to life of the unborn child under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

"We hoped our brief would lay a foundation for a future ruling by the Court recognizing the unborn child as a person with Constitutional rights," Weber said, "The Court in the Webster decision did not reaffirm the holding in Roe denying the right to life of children conceived, but not yet born. We consider this a victory."

Louisa Rucker, Chairman of the National Pro-Life Religious Council said, "This brief demonstrates pro-life ecumenism at its best. We are very pleased that groups representing eleven different denominations were able to join together and bear witness to the right to life of the unborn child."

"We are embarking on a new era in religious cooperation and understanding - Catholic, Protestant, Mormon and Jew, we stand together in our goal of ending the national tragedy of abortion on demand and restoration of legal protection to the unborn child," Rucker said.

A Virginia based attorney, Michael J. Woodruff, coordinated the co-sponsorship of the eleven pro-life religious based groups.

The Rev. Ed Feskins, Executive Director of Lutherans for Life, said, "This brief helps dispel the myth promoted by pro-abortion advocates that the pro-life cause is only championed by the Catholic church and the Fundamentalists. Mainline Protestant churches are very pro-life and we will be increasingly heard on this issue."

Amicus Brief Cosigners:
  • American Baptists Friends of Life
  • Baptists for Life
  • Catholics United for Life
  • Christian Action Council
  • Lutherans for Life
  • Moravians for Life
  • National Organization of Episcopalians for Life
  • Presbyterians Pro-Life
  • Southern Baptists for Life
  • Task Force of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality
  • United Church of Christ Friends for Life

News Briefs

Orthodox Rabbis Urge Reversal of Roe v. Wade (April 9) - Over 2000 Rabbis representing more than one million American Jews called for the quick repeal of Roe v. Wade "which for 16 years has kept an entire category of innocent and defenseless human beings outside the protection of the law."

TV "Movie" Criticized - The May 15th NBC TV movie Roe v. Wade is being strongly criticized by pro-life leaders because of its blatant pro-abortion propaganda. Pro-lifers are asked to call the two major national program sponsors Maxwell House Coffee (1-800-431-1004) and Alamo Rent-A-Car (1-800-GO-ALAMO) to express concern over this insensitive and misleading film.

"Mary Doe" of 1973 Doe v Bolton Case Featured at NRLC Convention (June 29) - Sandra Cano (Mary Doe) shared a deeply moving personal story of how pro-abortion lawyers manipulated her into signing the complaint in Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade.

Sandra, who attended the National Right to Life Convention in person, presented her story via a taped interview with Leslie Bond of NRL News.

Now reunited with the daughter she bore after refusing to have the abortion requested in Doe v. Bolton, Sandra stated that she is strongly pro-life and never wanted an abortion.

CBS Poll Indicates Pro-Life Support - A June 26-29 poll by CBS News showed 66% favored state laws which would permit abortions only in case of life, rape and incest.

House Locksin Pro-Life Foreign Aid Policies - Washington (July 7) - By a 229 to 163 vote the US House of Representatives continued the current policies prohibiting funding to organizations which promote abortions in foreign countries.

Upcoming Events

November 10-12 - Lutherans for Life Convention (7th annual), Omaha NE.

January 19-22, 1990 - National Organization of Episcopalians for Life (NOEL) Convocation, Fairfax, VA.

April 28, 1990 - Rally for Life, Washington DC.

Home. Questions and answers. Newsletters. Audio clips. Press releases. Member organizations. Join us. Contact us.

Questions and answers.
Audio clips.
Press releases.
Member organizations.
Join us.
Contact us.