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Communique – Apr. 2, 1999


CALIFORNIA CATHOLIC HOSPITALS: The California state assembly is considering a bill that would “guarantee women’s access to the full range of reproductive health services.” The bill is a response to the mergers of several religious and secular hospitals and gives the state attorney general new authority to scrutinize or disapprove of mergers that would deny consumers the full range of “reproductive health services.”

COMMENT: Key words: reproductive health services = abortion on demand, by surgical and chemical methods.

(Reading: “Catholic Hospital Mergers: California Bill Would Guarantee Access to Reproductive Services,” The Kaiser Daily Report,3/22/99)

chemical abortion

RU-486: Life Issues Institute has published a list of pro-life and anti-life web sites for those who desire more background information on RU-486. For a complete report and overview, contact Life Issues Institute, 1721 W. Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45239.

childhood vaccines

OHIO: Ohio Parents for Vaccine Safety director Kristine Severyn, R.Ph., Ph.D., is requesting action on Ohio House Bill 200 which would mandate the Hepatitis B vaccine for all children. Since Hepatitis B “is basically an adult lifestyle liver disease of promiscuous homosexuals, heterosexuals and intravenous drug users,” and the “Ohio Department of Health reports that more than 99.7 percent of Ohioans do not carry the virus,” the mandatory vaccination is unwarranted.

Action: If you live in Ohio, contact Ohio state legislators and point out the facts. If you are not in Ohio, watch your state’s lawmaking body for such frivolous, if not dangerous mandating of Hepatitis B childhood vaccines.

(Reading and Contact Information: Ohio Parents for Vaccine Safety, 3/25/99 action alert; Phone/Fax 937-435-4750; write for more details: OPVS, 251 West Ridgeway Drive, Dayton, OH 45459)

disability rights

CANADA: Pro-life activist Mark Pickup is asking President Clinton to use his influence through the American President’s Advisory Committee on Disability Issues to encourage Prime Minister Jean Chretien to establish an equivalent Canadian committee. Pickup comments to Clinton, “You have set a wonderful standard for other leaders to follow in the area of recognizing disability rights and inclusion.”

(Reading: March 22 letter from Mark Pickup to Bill Clinton, and back up documentation)

human embryo research

NATIONAL BIOETHICS ADVISORY COMMISSION: April 15-16, 1999, at the Omni Charlottesville Hotel in Charlottesville, Virginia, the NBAC will meet to discuss research involving human embryonic stem cells, the use of human biological materials in research and ethical and regulatory issues in research. This meeting is open to the public and the public is invited to comment at the meeting on April 16 from 11:30 am to 12 noon.

(Reading: Federal Register Notice of a Meeting, 3/22/99)

human experimentation

CALIFORNIA: The Department of Veterans Affairs has halted all animal and human experiments after six years of investigation into the manner in which such experiments are being conducted in the greater Los Angeles area. Though statements abound that no human being was put in jeopardy, the New York Times reports “the Department of Health and Human Services office in charge of overseeing human experiments officially cut off all federal funds to the Los Angeles hospitals.” Of particular interest is the suspected abuse of mental patients who were not able to provide informed consent prior to being deliberately denied certain medications, allowed to suffer relapses, and literally become human guinea pigs used for observation purposes.

(Reading: “V.A. Hospital Is Told to Halt All Research,” The New York Times, 3/25/99)

imposed death

SELF MAGAZINE: Marilyn Webb, writer and lecturer, points out that according to her research sources, “70 to 90 percent of us now die when some decision is made either to withhold or withdraw such treatment as drugs, respirators or feeding tubes.” She recommends purchasing Derek Humphrey’s Final Exit and applauds Compassion in Dying for the various lawsuits they brought to “legalize assisted suicide.” She comments “not everyone approves of assisted suicide, but for those who do, or for those who only want to help with assessment and service support groups, Compassion in Dying can provide start-up materials.” SELF magazine invites your comments.

(Reading: Marilyn Webb, “Out of Pain and Anger,” SELF, 3/99,pp. 150-153, 168; write SELF End of Life Project, 350 Madison Ave., 23rd fl., New York, NY 10017)


MISSOURI: State representative Bill Luetkenhaus proposed a bill to outlaw partial birth abortion that defines it as infanticide, bans acts “to intentionally kill a partially born living infant,” and spells out what that means. The bill does not mention the term “partial birth abortion.” The bill passed the house on a roll call vote of 123-26, and is currently in the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.

(Reading: Life Advocacy Briefing, 3/14/99, p.3)

organ donation

CONTROVERSIAL PROPOSAL: Robert Sade, M.D. proposes in Archives of Internal Medicine a new program (Selection of Potential Recipients of Transplants, or SPRT) for the selection of organ donors based on the ethical theory of “utility,” which he describes as “producing the greatest good for the greatest number.” He points out that “around the time of death, clear explanation of brain death to the family, appropriate timing of the donation request, and the use of a requesting team” are required. Fortunately, in the same issue, an editorial commentary on Sade’s proposal describes it as a program that would “tend to increase the societal harm(s) inherent in organ transplantations.”

(Reading: “Cadaveric Organ Donation, Rethinking Donor Motivation,”Archives of Internal Medicine, 3/8/99, pp. 438-442; “Cadaveric Organ Donation, Rethinking SPRT,” pp. 427-428)


PRO-ABORT WITH HONOR? During the March 18 National Abortion Federation press conference, Cynthia Archer of George Washington University told the media: “New York Assemblyman George Michaels, whose last minute vote change made abortion legal in the state of New York, believed it was his job to do the right thing, and to support reproductive choice. He lost the next election, because the voters in his district didn’t like his decision. But he knew when he changed his vote that his political career was over. He said on that day when he asked the speaker to change his vote, what good is getting elected if you can’t stand for something?”

Comment: Standing up for principle, not compromising, and never counting the cost: where are pro-life presidential candidates with such standards?

(Reading: Transcript, National Abortion Federation news conference, 3/18/99 Federal News Service)


COWARDS! Writing about the recent bombing of an abortion mill in North Carolina, Joe Belz of World magazine comments, “the most cowardly aspect of all may be the outsized disparity between the big people and the little people. The parents who conceive the babies, the abortionists who destroy them, the politicians who aid and abet, the reporters who give one-sided accounts-all these grownups conspire against tiny victims who typically will not be permitted even to draw their first breath of life, much less use that breath to scream their protest. Only cowards would stack the deck or fix the fight in such ghastly proportions.”

(Reading: Joe Belz, “Cowards,” World, 3/27/99, p 7)


So great is the confusion at times that for many people the difference between good and evil is determined by the opinion of the majority, and even the time-honored havens of human life-the family, the law and medicine-are sometimes made to serve the culture of death.

-Pope John Paul II, 2/20/99


Lord, help me this day to be your servant, a voice for your law. Protect me from the cunning deceptions of the culture of death. Amen.