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LIFE DIGEST: Hillary Clinton aids foes of California parental notice initiative; ad campaign calls for blacks to vote pro-life

WASHINGTON (BP)–Sen. Hillary Clinton, D.-N.Y., softened her tone on abortion nearly two years ago, but she now has loaned her voice to the effort to defeat a California ballot initiative that would require a minor female to notify her parents before aborting the child.

About 250,000 California residents received a warning from the former first lady by way of an automated telephone message Oct. 18, according to the New York Sun. In the message, Clinton urged voters to oppose Proposition 85, which will be on the ballot Nov. 7.

“We are opposed because 85 will put our most vulnerable teens at risk -– teens who may already be endangered by negligent or even abusive homes,” Clinton says in the message. “We can do better. Let’s work together to protect all our children.”

Clinton, who appears to be the front-runner for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president, told abortion rights advocates in a January 2005 speech she still supported the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, but she also referred to the procedure as a “sad, even tragic choice for many, many women,” according to The New York Times.

“I for one respect those who believe with all their heart and conscience that there are no circumstances under which abortion should be available,” she said in 2005, The Times reported. Clinton also said there was “common ground” on which pro-life and pro-choice advocates could stand to reduce the number of “unwanted pregnancies” and abortions.

She said in another appearance the same day last year that she supported “parental notification with a judicial bypass,” according to the Sun. Proposition 85 includes a provision for a pregnant minor to gain a judicial bypass.

Clinton’s participation in the effort opposing the California parental notice proposal seems to show she is “moving pretty far to the other side now,” Yes on 85 spokesman Albin Rhomberg said.

“It also shows that Hillary is quite fickle,” Rhomberg said, according to the Sun. “She seems to want to please whatever the winds are or the tide at the time.”

Clinton voted in both July and September against federal legislation protecting the rights of parents of pregnant minors. The Child Custody Protection Act, which failed to gain final approval in the Senate, would have blocked the transportation of underage girls across state lines to obtain abortions in avoidance of parental involvement laws in the girls’ home states.

The National Right to Life Committee has given Clinton a zero for her record on four “life” votes in this congressional session.

APPEAL TO BLACKS -– A leading black conservative is urging African-Americans through a $1 million advertising campaign to vote their pro-life convictions in this November’s election.

Herman Cain -– former chief executive officer of Godfather’s Pizza, a 2004 Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Georgia and now a radio talk show host –- is using the ad effort in selected states and congressional districts to call on other blacks to put their values before a political party.

“More and more African-Americans are pro-life,” Cain said, according to LifeNews.com. “Our message to African-Americans is simple -– it’s time you vote for candidates who support our values.”

Abortion has been especially devastating in this country’s black community. In the 2000 census, blacks made up about 12 percent of the U.S. population, but a 2000-2001 study for the Guttmacher Institute showed 32 percent of women having abortions were non-Hispanic blacks. The Guttmacher report also showed 43 percent of all conceptions by black women ended in abortion.

The text of the radio ad by America’s PAC, which Cain founded, includes the following statements, according to the National Black Pro-life Union:

“Democrats say they want our votes. Why don’t they want our live babies?”

“Don’t buy the Democrats’ lie! Killing unborn babies is no way to help those in poverty.”

For decades, blacks have voted overwhelmingly for candidates from the Democratic Party, which maintains an abortion-rights position in its platform.

Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-life Union and media director of the National Pro-life Action Center, said in a written statement, “Abortion is the number one killer of African-American people, killing more blacks than all other deaths combined. Abortion facilities are strategically placed in minority neighborhoods.

“We must stand united to ensure civil rights for all people no matter how small they may be -– and the place to do it is in the ballot box. We must send a message to the Democrats and Republicans that if you are FOR abortion, we are NOT FOR you, bottom line.”

KIDS NEEDED –- The United States reached a population of 300 million people Oct. 17, according to the Census Bureau, but it needs more children, a pro-life group contends.

“When you look at the projections that show our population aging rapidly over the next few decades, when you see our economy and government programs such as Social Security risking bankruptcy, you can see that the United States’ annual 0.9 percent population growth rate is not enough,” said Steven Mosher, president of the Northern Virginia-based Population Research Institute. “America’s baby boomers didn’t have many children on average, and, as a result, our country faces a gray dawn. Even our currently high immigration levels haven’t made up the difference.”

The U.S. population growth is slowing and will continue to decline for the envisioned future, PRI reported.

Meanwhile, the percentage of the U.S. population more than 65 years old will increase from 12.3 percent to 20.6 percent by 2050, according to United Nations estimates, PRI reported. The percentage of Americans 80 or more will grow from 3.6 percent to 7.3 percent in the same time span, forecasts show, according to PRI. The worker-to-retiree ratio will shrink from 3-to-1 to 2-to-1, PRI said.

“Labor is a renewable resource, but it is not being renewed fast enough,” said Joseph D’Agostino, PRI’s vice president for communications. “Much attention is paid to the prevention of overfishing, overhunting, excessive logging and other phenomena that could threaten the supply of vital resources. Why is so little paid to the decline of our most valuable resource of all, human labor? Something has to be done about this soon, because children cannot be manufactured in China and shipped to us in bulk once we suddenly realize we need more.”

The United States is not overcrowded. The country’s population density is 31 people per square kilometer, significantly short of the world average of 48, according to PRI.

TWO MURDERS –- A Philadelphia, Pa., man was convicted Oct. 17 of the murder of his pregnant girlfriend and the unborn baby he wanted her to abort.

A judge found Stephen Poaches, 27, guilty and sentenced him to life in prison without parole after he surrendered his right to appeal the verdict, according to the Associated Press. Poaches was convicted in the July 2005, strangulation death of LaToyia Figueroa and their unborn child. Figueroa, who had a 7-year-old daughter, was five months pregnant.

Figueroa’s body was not found until more than a month after she was killed, AP reported. A police detective followed Poaches to a parking lot in Chester, Pa., about 15 miles south of Philadelphia, where he had hidden her body.