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LIFE DIGEST: Roe reversal would leave seven states with effective abortion bans; WHO makes RU 486 ‘essential’

WASHINGTON (BP)–Only seven states have laws that would effectively prohibit most abortions, if the Roe v. Wade decision were overturned by the Supreme Court, according to a new report.

Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Wisconsin have either pre-Roe laws or ones enacted since that 1973 ruling that would bar abortions with few exceptions, according to a June 28 study released by the Life Legal Defense Fund of Columbus, Ohio. Those states constitute less than 10 percent of the United States population, meaning more than a million abortions would still be performed legally each year, according to the report.

The Roe opinion, combined with a companion ruling, Doe v. Bolton, invalidated all state bans on abortion and had the practical effect of allowing abortion throughout pregnancy for any reason offered by a woman. It is estimated about 45 million legal abortions have been performed in this country since then.

“The results of this study will come as a surprise to many Americans,” the fund’s special counsel, Paul Linton, said in a written statement. “Overturning Roe and Doe would send the issue of when abortion should be permitted back to the American people.”

Since the Roe and Doe rulings, more than two-thirds of the states have either rescinded their abortion bans or amended them to comply with the 1973 decisions.

The study underscores what pro-life advocates have long contended. While some abortion-rights organizations have claimed frequently the Supreme Court is only a vote away from taking away a woman’s right to choose abortion, the high court has been two votes away from a majority opposed to Roe for more than a decade.

Even with Sandra Day O’Connor recently retiring as an associate justice, the court still would require an anti-Roe replacement plus another pro-life justice to strike down the contentious decision. As the new study shows, a reversal of Roe would mean there would be no federal policy and states would be free to restrict abortion as they choose.

FIVE MONTHS GOING ON 13 YEARS — It took 13 years, but Laina Beasley finally has joined her fellow triplets in their parents’ home.

Laina lived 13 years as a two-celled embryo in frozen storage before she was placed in her mother’s womb last year, then born Feb. 4 of this year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported July 5. Hers is the longest documented wait by a frozen embryo for a successful birth, according to the report.

Laina was conceived by in vitro fertilization at the same time Jeffrey and Carleigh Beasley, now 13, were. While her brother and sister were born in 1992, Laina and 11 other embryos also conceived from Kent and Debbie Beasley’s sperm and eggs were placed in storage.

The next dozen years marked a torturous journey for the Beasleys. Scandalous use of embryos was uncovered at the University of California-Irvine clinic where their embryos were stored. They were able to recover only eight of their 12 embryos. When two more embryos were implanted in Debbie’s womb, she nearly died from a drug she was given. She required seven years of recovery before she was able to try another pregnancy. Debbie took her final six embryos in a liquid nitrogen tank to a San Francisco clinic last year, but only four, including Laina, survived thawing and were implanted in Debbie’s womb with the use of a catheter.

“As soon as [the doctor] took the catheter out, I put my hand over my lower abdomen and said, ‘Welcome home,’” Debbie said, according to the Chronicle. “They had been in this cold place for so long. Now, it was over. Whether God took them to Heaven or they became babies, it was OK.

“I still look at her and can’t believe it,” said Debbie, who lives with her husband and children in Santa Rosa, Calif. “I smell her and kiss her, and I still can’t believe she’s here.”

ESSENTIAL DRUGS? -– RU 486 is an essential medication, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO has added mifepristone, more popularly known as the French abortion drug RU 486, and misoprostol to its latest list of “essential medicines,” CNS News reported July 11.

RU 486 is used as the first part of a two-step, chemical abortion process normally occurring in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. The use of the drug causes the lining of the uterus to release the embryonic child. A second drug, misoprostol, is taken two days after mifepristone and causes the uterus to contract, expelling the baby.

Pro-life advocates decried the WHO action.

“Abortion is certainly not a priority health care need, and these drugs absolutely do not belong on the list,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told CNS. He called the decision “not only morally and ethically unacceptable, but also scientifically irresponsible,” according to CNS.

The Food and Drug Administration reported last year three women have died in the United States since RU 486 was approved in 2000. Its use in developing countries runs the risk of causing even more deaths because of the potential lack of adequate medical care.

COMMUNION SCANDAL –- The Vatican has issued a new document for review by its bishops that says Roman Catholics who support abortion should not take communion, according to LifeNews.com.

“Some receive communion while denying the teachings of the Church or publicly supporting immoral choices in life, such as abortion, without thinking that they are committing an act of grave personal dishonesty and causing scandal,” the document says, LifeNews reported July 7. “Some Catholics do not understand why it might be a sin to support a political candidate who is openly in favor of abortion or other serious acts against life, justice and peace.”

Last year’s presidential election campaign included a great deal of discussion about whether it was right for Catholic politicians who favor abortion rights to take communion. Democratic candidate John Kerry is a Catholic who supports legalized abortion.

The church’s bishops are to review the 88-page paper in October, according to LifeNews.

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