News Articles

LIFE DIGEST: Woman gets year in jail for forging girl’s abortion parental notice

WASHINGTON (BP)–A Georgia woman has been sentenced to a year in jail after forging a letter of parental notification for her son’s teenage girlfriend to have an abortion -– and the clinic that performed the procedure may face legal consequences as well.

Cindi Cook, 44, received the sentence, which is the maximum for a misdemeanor, from a judge in DeKalb County in early June after being found guilty of custody interference and of a violation of the state’s parental notice law, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported June 12.

Cook “searched for a clinic that did not require a parent to be present,” county solicitor general Robert James said, according to the newspaper. She pressured the pregnant girl to have the abortion, forged the required parental notice letter and paid for the procedure at Northside Women’s Clinic in Chamblee, Ga., the newspaper reported.

James’ office is investigating whether the abortion clinic broke state law, he told the newspaper. Under Georgia’s parental notification requirement, a parent is to be notified by telephone or certified mail if he will not be present for the abortion, The Journal-Constitution reported.

The girl’s parents released a written statement after the sentencing: “The actions of both Cindi Cook and the Northside Women’s Clinic have affected our daughter’s life with much pain this past year because of the loss of her baby. They took away our right to be there and help our daughter during a time when she needed us most.”

Cook’s son and his girlfriend were both 16 when the abortion was performed in May 2007. The girl and her parents were not named by The Journal-Constitution because she was a minor when the crime took place.

The case demonstrates how coercive many abortions are, said a leader of a network of people harmed by abortion.

“Abortion clinics will not voluntarily ask girls or women if they’re being coerced into ending their children’s lives,” said Georgette Forney, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. “Abortion clinics are in business to make money and the more abortions they perform, the richer everyone involved becomes, everyone, that is, except the woman who’s just had her life shattered and the baby who’s just had his life ended.”

GOVERNORS DIVIDE ON LIFE — Legislation regarding life issues has met divergent fates at the hands of state governors recently.

Some, such as South Carolina’s Mark Sanford and Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty, acted in support of the pro-life position, while others, Ohio’s Ted Strickland and Michigan’s Jennifer Granholm, vetoed measures designed to protect life.

Their actions were:

— Sanford, a Republican, signed into law May 29 a measure that requires a woman who is at least 14 weeks pregnant be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound image of her baby at least an hour before an abortion.

— Pawlenty, also a Republican, vetoed May 23 a bill that would have permitted the University of Minnesota to use state funds for embryonic stem cell research. The bill would have permitted cloning, as long as all embryos are destroyed, according to Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

— Strickland, however, used a line-item veto to delete a prohibition on funds for human cloning from an economic stimulus bill.

— Granholm, a Democrat like Strickland, vetoed for the second time a ban on partial-birth abortion, which involves the killing of a nearly totally delivered baby normally in at least the fifth month of pregnancy.

EXEMPTIONS PERMITTED IN CHINA — Parents whose only child was killed or severely injured in the May 12 earthquake in China will be able to have another baby as an exemption from the one-child policy.

The Chengdu Population and Family Planning Committee in Sichuan Province issued the ruling in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, which resulted in an estimated 10,000 children dying in collapsed school buildings, the International Herald Tribune reported, based on an Associated Press account.

Some mothers may be unable to benefit from the exemption, however. They may either be too old to produce a child or have been sterilized, said Zhongxin Sun, a sociology professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, according to the Herald Tribune.

China’s population control policy, instituted in 1979, generally limits couples in urban areas to one child and those in rural areas to two, if the first is a girl. Provincial officials have enforced the rule with heavy fines for more than one child. Forced abortions and sterilizations also have been widely reported under the mandate.

UMC REPENTS ON EUGENICS — The United Methodist Church (UMC) voted 836-28 at its General Conference April 30 in Fort Worth, Texas, to apologize for the involvement of Methodist churches and pastors in the eugenics movement during the early decades of the 20th century. The action made the UMC the first religious denomination to repent of its support of the eugenics movement, bioethics specialist Jennifer Lahl reported on the Bioethics.com weblog.

Eugenics is the effort to produce better human beings through breeding. In this country, the movement included the forced sterilization of the “feeble minded” and mentally ill as well as laws against interracial marriage.

The resolution concluded by saying: “The United Methodist General Conference formally apologizes for Methodist leaders and Methodist bodies who in the past supported eugenics as sound science and sound theology. We lament the ways eugenics was used to justify the sterilization of persons deemed less worthy. We lament that Methodist support of eugenics policies was used to keep persons of different races from marrying and forming legally recognized families. We are especially grieved that the politics of eugenics led to the extermination of millions of people by the Nazi government and continues today as ‘ethnic cleansing’ around the world.”
Tom Strode is Baptist Press’ Washington bureau chief.