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Uniting for Life

Winter, 1991


Pro-Life Coalition Celebrates Title X Victory -- Bush Veto Sustained

Washington (Nov. 19) A coalition oftwenty three pro-life groups including the National Right to Life Committee, and the National Pro-Life Religious Council celebrated a legislative victory as the Congress attempted and failed to overturn the Bush administration's Title X regulations, which prevent federally funded family planning clinics from counseling or referring for abortion. President Bush vetoed a congressional bill which would have nullified the pro-life policy; hours later, pro-abortion forces in the House failed to garner the 2/3 margin necessary to override a veto.

The Abortion is Not Family Planning Coalition used a series of high quality ads to make known the facts surrounding the Title X issue. The ads point out that

Abortion advocates pretend to want the government out of the abortion debate. But when it comes to subsidizing abortion, they want the government involved - on their side.

Pro-life groups have called the battle to maintain the Title X regulations the most important issue since the Hyde amendment, which bars federal funding of abortions unless the mother's life isin danger.

Planned Parenthood, the largest recipient ofTitle X funds, launched a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at overturning the regulations shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that they were constitutional in its May 23 Rust v. Sullivan decision. Once the regulations go into effect, Planned Parenthood and other recipients ofTitle X funds must agree not to discuss abortion as a family planning option with pregnant women, or risk losing their federal funds.

NPRC Challenges Ambiguous Abortion Statements from Dr. Billy Graham

In the August 30th issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer, (2-C), well-known Evangelist Reverend Dr. Billy Graham is quoted as saying that he has no stand on when life begins. "I'm going to let the scientists sort that one outů.I have my ideas but I try to stay away from these things that are so emotional and I don't have clear cut answers to." The Reverend Ben Sheldon, President of Presbyterians Pro-Life, has expressed both support for Dr. Graham and concern over the statement.

"In a society which has so cavalierly accepted the slaughter of 1,500,000 unborn babies every year for the past 18 years, you must not evade the issue of when life begins, and the whole matter of the sacred value of human life," Dr. Sheldon wrote in a letter to Dr. Graham. "The babies lives hang in the balance, and your courageous statement in defense of life could be so vital."

The Reverend Ralph L. Williams of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association responded, indicating that Dr. Graham was "not quoted in full," and that Billy Graham "has not hesitated to speak out concerning abortion." Dr. Graham, he points out, was instrumental in the establishment of the Christian Action Council, the "largest Protestant anti-abortion group." Dr. Graham simply chooses to avoid "social and moral issues purely, feeling this would sidetrack him from the main purpose of his ministry."

In a joint letter, various members of the National Pro-Life Religious Council point out that they understand Dr. Graham's attempt "to steer away from controversial issues," but they pointed out that "the abortion question is not just another social issue. It is the transcendent moral issue of our time."

Bigotry Becomes Factor in Supreme Court Nomination

On the day Judge Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court, Governor Douglas Wilder of Virginia told reporters that Thomas should be questioned closely about his abortion views because of his Catholic background. Justice Thomas is a former Catholic seminarian who now attends an Episcopal church. In his comments, Gov. Wilder made reference to Pope John Paul II's frequent condemnation of the evil of abortion, and his efforts to persuade legislators in his home country to enact laws to protect the rights of the unborn. "The question is," Gov. Wilder said, "how much allegiance is there to the Pope?"

Gov. Wilder apologized "if anyone was offended" by his remarks.

The Senate confirmed Thomas' nomination by a vote of 52-48. He replaced retiring Justice Thurgood Marshall, who voted with the majority in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Child of Rapist Tells Happy Ending at NPRC Meeting

At the fall quarterly meeting of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, Julie Makimaa discussed the story of her conception and birth. Shortly after she located and contacted her birth mother, she discovered the fact that she was the daughter of a rapist. Julie believes that she would not be here today if abortion had been legal and as widely available as it is today. Her mother said that she is not sure what she would have done if abortion had been an option.

In the spring of 1990, Makimaa founded Fortress International, an organization committed to "defending both victims of sexual assault pregnancies: the women who become pregnant, and the children conceived."

In a Fortress International brochure, the organization says;

We know that there are marry women who...had abortions and are now struggling with that decision to end the life of the child... We know that there are many possible physical and psychological effects of abortion, and we want to reach out to these women, with compassion and love. We need to let women know that there is a better alternative than abortion.

For more information on Fortress International, contact Fortress International, P.O. Box 7352, Springfield, IL, 62791-7352.

Lutheran Body Approves Moderately Pro-Life Statement on Abortion

Orlando (Sept. 3) - In a 905-70 vote, the 5.2 million member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted a statement on Sept. 3 that accepts some abortions but only as a "last resort" in the most extreme circumstances. The ELCA was formed in 1988 as the result of a merger of three Lutheran bodies, each with differing positions on abortion. These differences necessitated the formation of a new statement.

The statement marked a departure from the stand of a number of mainline denominations, which have opposed legal restrictions on abortion and treated it as a matter of personal conscience.

Saying that the "strong Christian presumption is to preserve and protect life", the new statement opposes abortion except in cases of "clear threat to the life of the woman," "extreme fetal abnormality" incompatible with life, and in cases of rape and incest. Apart from these cases, it says, "we as a church disagree on what conditions, if any, make abortion a morally responsible act."

On the public policy level, the statement called for abortion to remain legal in the above cases, and called for public funding of abortion for low income women in these circumstances. The statement calls for protection of unborn life once the child can survive outside the womb, saying that "every effort must be made to support this life" if a pregnancy must be interrupted after viability. Beyond these cases, "this church neither supports nor opposes" other abortion restricting legislation.

A resolution opposing all abortions except to save the mother's life, and one supporting "acceptance" of whatever choices a woman makes, were rejected.

News Notes

Pro-Abortion Groups, Attorney General Push For Immediate Review of Roe in PA case - At a Washington press conference on Nov. 7, representatives of two pro-abortion groups, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America said they had filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking for a decision "whether a woman's right to have a child is worthy of the highest level of constitutional protection." The request came in the wake of a decision by the 3rd U.S, Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld parts of a Pennsylvania law requiring a 24-hour waiting period and informed consent before performing an abortion. The Abortion Control Act of 1989 has never been enforced because of court challenges.

In December, PA Attorney General Ernie Preate also filed a request for review of the appeals court decision, and asked the Supreme Court to deny the pro-abortion groups' appeal of those provisions of the law upheld under the 3rd Circuit Court ruling.

Churches Join in Life Chains to Cover Road in U.S., Canada - Washington - On Sunday, Oct. 6, demonstrators from many denominations gathered in cities across the U.S. and Canada carrying signs saying "Abortion Kills Children." Clergy participating in various chains carried signs proclaiming "Jesus Forgives and Heals."

According to National Life Chain in Yuba City, CA, the chains included more than 665,000 people in 350 cities. With an estimated 28,000 demonstrators, stretching for 29 miles, the chain in St. Petersburg/Clearwater, FL is believed to be the largest single demonstration.

Euthanasia Initiative Fails in Washington - Seattle (Nov. 6) With a vote of 54% to 46%, pro-life voters in Washington state defeated a measure supported by the Hemlock Society that would have given doctors the right to kill or assist in the suicide of terminally ill patients who ask to be killed. Polls prior to the vote had shown the measure ahead 61 % - 27%.

"The people of this state have set an example for the world by deciding that doctors should not be asked to kill the dying," said Archbishop Thomas Murphy of Seattle. He called on his listeners to accept the Gospel challenge to "apply Christian values to the critical issues" of treatment for the terminally ill.

Washington would have been the first state to allow the practice of assisted suicide.

Catholic Hospital Cancels Luncheon Featuring Pro-Abortion U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari -New York (Dec. 3) - Concerns from pro-lifers apparently led to the cancellation of a luncheon to raise funds for Foundling Hospital. U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari (R, NY-4) was to speak at the event, but pro-lifers felt that her strong pro-abortion stance made her an inappropriate choice. The hospital blamed the cancellation on "inadequate support for the planned giving luncheon."

A spokeswoman for the hospital declined to say who made the decision to cancel the luncheon.

More News

Cardinal O'Connor Addresses Presbyterians Pro-Life

John Cardinal O'Connor of the Archdiocese of New York addressed more than 450 commissioners and guests of the 1991 Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA. At the meeting, sponsored by Presbyterians Pro-Life (PPL), the Cardinal said that his own commitment to "the sacredness of human life, the worth and dignity of every human person," began when he stood in the ovens of Dachau.

O'Connor challenged those at the gathering to tell the truth of God's Word, disturb the apparent calm which covers up disorders, and to bring order by starting ferment. He told his audience to respond to the law of man by appealing unceasingly to the law of God. What results from toleration of immoral practices, he said, referring to Romans 1, is a deadened conscience, and the loss of "community conscience."

A video of his speech is available from PPL, P.O. Box 19290, Minneapolis, MN 55419.

Fetal Tissue Funding

On July 25, the House of Representative passed a bill revising the laws governing the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The bill (HR 2507) contained language that would overturn the Bush administration's ban on federal funding for transplantation of tissue taken from aborted fetuses.

Administration officials have threatened a veto because of the pro-abortion position. The vote passed the House 5 votes short of the two-thirds needed to override a veto.

Pro-abortion Senator Ted Kennedy has introduced a different version of the NIH bill in the Senate (S. 1523). The original version does not contain the pro-abortion fetal tissue language. But on Nov. 21, Kennedy sponsored a Senate public hearing which heard heavily slanted testimony on overturning the administration's pro-life policy. Testifying on behalf of the current regulations was James Bopp, general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee. Only two witnesses spoke for the ban, and nine spoke against it.

Upcoming Event

Princeton Consultation on the Church and Abortion

On Feb. 28-29, 1992, representatives of various Christian groups will come together to "show the relationship between fundamental doctrines of the church and issues of human life." A luncheon, featuring an address by the Rev. Paul Hinlicky, will open the Consultation at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, and Richard John Neuhaus will give the closing address on Saturday, ending at 5:00 p.m. Other speakers will include Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission, John Richard de Witt of Memphis, TN, John Jefferson Davis of Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and O. Palmer Robertson of Washington, D.C.

Registrations must be received by Jan. 15. For information on registration and hotel accommodations, contact Presbyterians Pro-Life, P.O. Box 19290, Minneapolis, MN 55419, or call (612) 861-1842.

United Church of Christ Abortion Book Available

The United Church of Christ (UCC) Friends for Life has put together a book titled Affirming Life - Biblical Perspectives on Abortion for the United Church of Christ. The authors seek to "recall the United Church of Christ to a recovery of its historic position on the sanctity and rights of unborn children, while maintaining a wholesome and helpful ministry to women and men who are struggling with an unintended pregnancy."

The book is available for $5.00 plus $.95 postage and handling, from the UCC Friends for Life, P.O. Box 255, Telford, PA, 18969.

NPRC Seeks New Members

This is your opportunity to join with other Christian pro-life leaders to help restore legal protection to the unborn child.

The National Pro-Life Religious Council, Inc. (NPRC) is a Christian pro-life coalition which acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and is called to witness to and affirm the biblical standard of the value, dignity and sanctity of human life.

NPRC's Board of Directors consists of leaders of pro-life religious groups or pro-life groups with a religious outreach.

Associate membership is open to any individual, church, or group who subscribes to NPRC's principles.

NPRC currently has members working within pro-life groups associated with the following denominations/churches: American Baptist, Baptist, Catholic, Episcopalian, Evangelical, (national Association of Evangelicals), Lutheran, Lutheran Missouri Synod, Mormon (LDS) Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist.

Click here for a membership form.

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