ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, CATHOLICS FOR CHOICE: ABORTION OUR ``RELIGIOUS'' RIGHT CLUB OF LIF

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ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, CATHOLICS FOR CHOICE: ABORTION OUR ``RELIGIOUS'' RIGHT CLUB OF LIFE by Linda Everett Among the dozens of briefs entered in the abortion cases the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this fall, is one by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai Brith. Joining the ADL are Catholics for Free Choice, B'nai Brith Women, and Women's American ORT--all groups that have held for 10 or 20 years that abortion on demand is a woman's right. The present brief, written by ADL attorney Kenneth Bialkin, contends that there are many views on abortion, and that state restrictions on abortion effectively establish but one religious view--that abortion is morally wrong. - Religious Repression? - And, claims the brief, when a state ``endorses [that] religious view,'' it restricts a woman's exercise of her own religious belief about terminating pregnancy. ``Requiring a woman to conform her actions to the government's view of when life begins is repugnant to the protections of the free exercise clause.'' A similarly spurious argument could be made about any murder case: That is, if a would-be murderer, for his own ``religious'' reasons, concluded that the victim did not qualify for inclusion in the injunction ``Thou Shalt Not Kill,'' then, presumably, the state would have no right to tell the murderer otherwise. Upcoming abortion cases before the high court include: , No. 88-790, Illinois, which requires that clinics performing first- and second-trimester abortions meet the same standards as full-care hospitals; , No. 88-805, Ohio requires that at least one parent be notified before a minor obtains an abortion; , No. 88-1125, and , No. 88-1309, Minnesota requires that both parents be notified in such a case. - Fallacies - The briefs discount that the state might act out of secular interests. The ADL argues that ``These statutes are in fact animated by the religious beliefs of the legislators as to when life begins and when abortions should be permissible under their theological scheme.'' The Illinois legislators, they say, were concerned for the life of the fetus, not the mother. Whatever the claims, there is good medical cause for regulating clinics. One New York woman is dead, and another in a coma, because the abortionists left the patients with assistants who ignored warning signs--or, in one case, never called for emergency help during the 90 minutes the post-abortion patient was in dire stress, until she died. It is ludicrous that the briefs consider 13-year-olds to be ``women'' holding mature religious beliefs that call for aborting pregnancies (although that {is} the case in Satanism). It is not the amici, but the parents who are most concerned for a child's welfare, and any procedure that endangers them physically, mentally, or morally. The Judeo-Christian reverence for life does indeed underlie our laws. To use ``religious freedom'' as a cover for pushing murder, is monstrous.

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