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LIFE DIGEST: Mother faces forced abortion in China

By Tom Strode - Nov 18, 2008 A woman who is six months pregnant is facing a forced abortion in a Chinese hospital after a failed escape to protect her unborn child. Arzigul Tursun, a mother of two, is awaiting an abortion she opposes while under guard in a hospital in Xinjiang, a vast region in the northwest part of the worlds most populous country, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA). As a Uyghur Muslim, Tursun is permitted to have two children under Chinas coercive population control program, but government officials have enforced the policy on her third child. She is 26 weeks into her pregnancy. Tursun fled Water Gate Hospital in Yining Nov. 16 but was captured the next day at a relatives home, RFA reported. She was taken to Women and Childrens Welfare Hospital in Ili and once again placed under guard, according to the report. A pro-life congressman is protesting the apparently imminent abortion. The Chinese government is notorious for this barbaric practice, but to forcibly abort a woman while the world watches in full knowledge of what is going on would make a mockery of its claim that the central government disapproves of the practice . . . , said Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., who sent a direct appeal to Zhou Wenzhong, Chinas ambassador to the United States. Human rights groups and the U.S. government will be watching very carefully to see what happens to Arzigul and her family. Chinas population control policy, which has been in place since 1979, has been marked by forced abortions and sterilizations. Infanticide, especially of females, also has been reported. In addition to abortions and sterilizations, penalties for violations of the policy have included fines, arrests and the destruction of homes. Chinas policy generally limits couples in urban areas to one child and those in rural areas to two, if the first is a girl. Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking ethic group, and other minorities living in rural areas are allowed three children, but those from cities are permitted only two, according to Xinhua, Chinas official news agency, RFA reported. Tursun is from a rural area, but her husband, Nurmemet Tohtasin, is from a city. The coercive program has helped produce a gender imbalance in the worlds most populous country, with many girls being aborted in order to enable a male baby to be born later. China had 120 males born for every 100 females in 2005, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

Appeals court rejects Illinois Choose Life plate

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the state of Illinois does not have to issue a Choose Life license plate, though advocates for the specialty auto tag met the legal requirements. A three-judge panel of the appeals court overturned a federal judges 2007 ruling, which said the Illinois secretary of State had discriminated based on the pro-life viewpoint of the license plate. The three-judge panel ruled specialty plates are not government speech but the state has the authority to control the content of the plates if the restrictions are reasonable. Illinois has excluded the abortion issue from specialty plates on the reasonable rationale that messages on specialty license plates give the appearance of having the governments endorsement, and Illinois does not wish to be perceived as endorsing any position on the subject of abortion, judge Diane Sykes wrote. Thomas Brejcha, chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, said he was very disappointed by the decision. Illinois has approved an entire variety of other specialty plates for pet friendly, proorgan donation, environmental issues and peace birds, said Brejcha, whose organization represents Choose Life Illinois in the case. No one ever sought approval or issuance of a Pro-Choice plate; we would have no objection to such a plate if sufficient persons signed petitions for it. Choose Life plans to seek a rehearing by the Seventh Circuit. If that fails, it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brejcha said. Choose Life Illinois collected the signatures of more than 25,000 Illinois residents for the pro-life plate, far exceeding the number needed. Legislative approval for a specialty plate was not required when Choose Life submitted the signatures. The secretary of State, however, referred Choose Life to the legislature, since it normally had approved such plates before they were issued. Since then, an amendment has been adopted requiring legislative approval before new specialty plates are issued.

Oklahoma ultrasound law blocked

A judge has blocked enforcement of an Oklahoma law that requires the performance of an ultrasound on any woman seeking an abortion. Oklahoma County District Judge Vicki Robertson granted a temporary injunction Oct. 31 to prevent the measure from taking effect, according to The Daily Oklahoman. A court hearing on the injunction is expected to be held in February, the newspaper reported. The new law was to become effective Nov. 1.

The law requires a medical worker to perform an ultrasound on a woman seeking an abortion, display the image of the unborn child and explain the sonogram. The mother is not required to view the image. Nova Health Systems, parent company to Tulsas Reproductive Services, requested the injunction. A Center for Reproductive Rights attorney representing Nova said the law likely would put the Tulsa clinic out of business, The Oklahoman reported. The clinic performs about 200 abortions a month. The laws sponsor, Rep. Pam Peterson, R.-Tulsa, expressed disappointment at the court decision. The more information women have the more empowered they are, she said, according to The Oklahoman. This is really a stalling technique because its all about money. . . . The abortion industry sees this bill as thwarting their profits. In April, the Oklahoma legislature overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Brad Henry to enact the measure, which the National Right to Life Committee described as the best ultrasound law in the country. Pregnancy care centers have reported dramatic upswings in clients choosing to give birth after viewing ultrasound images of their babies.

Abortion bill vetoed in Uruguay

Uruguays president has vetoed a bill that would have legalized abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. President Tabare Vazquez vetoed the legislation Nov. 13, two days after the Uruguayan Senate approved it in a 17-13 vote. It appears the votes are lacking for an override of the veto, BBC News reported. Our laws cannot ignore the reality of the existence of human life in the gestation period, as scientific evidence clearly shows, said Vazquez, a physician, in a written statement, according to BBC. Its more appropriate to look for a solution based on solidarity, giving a woman the freedom to make other choices and thereby save both her and the baby. The legislation would have permitted abortion in such cases as the extreme poverty of the mother and a threat to the health of the mother or baby. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission works to protect the sanctity of human life. If you would like to learn more about this issue, additional resources are available here. If your church is interested in purchasing bulletin inserts or other materials on the sanctity of human life, please visit our online bookstore and erlc.com.

There are Alternatives to Abortion!

It's often difficult to know where to turn when you are pregnant and afraid. Well-meaning friends and acquaintances may recommend abortion as the easiest solution to a difficult situation. Yet we at Priests For Life have received hundreds of calls from women who have made this choice and later regretted it. A November 1994 Reader Digest article by Mary Cunningham Agee reported that 91% of women surveyed in post-abortion interviews stated that they would have carried their child to term if the support had been there. Items most frequently mentioned were help with medical bills, ability to continue in her career or education, and most importantly, understanding from family, friends, and the father of the child. Priests for Life wants to do what we can to help connect you with the people and resources which can make the choice for life a practical one, as well as a loving one for you and your baby, regardless of your financial or social situation. The Church's response: Radical solidarity with the woman Click here for a simple handout providing numbers for abortion alternatives and postabortion counseling

Option Line consultants refer each caller to a pregnancy resource center in her area for answers to questions about abortion, pregnancy tests, STD's, adoption, parenting, medical referrals, housing, and many other issues. The toll-free number is available to callers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers from across the country can reach a trained, caring person and then be connected to a pregnancy resource center near them for one-on-one help. Option Line is a call center located in Columbus, Ohio, formed as a joint venture between Care Net and Heartbeat International.

1-800-395-HELP (4357) Birthright

Birthright has a network of almost a thousand pregnancy help centers throughout the United States, These centers offer pregnancy testing, counseling, and resources, including medical, financial, and personal assistance. The Birthright philosophy is that a woman coming in for help does not represent a "statistic", or an "issue,", but is rather a human being looking for help and support in a time of need. In addition to pregnancy help services, Birthright also provides links to doctors and others in the local community who can help a woman after the birth of her child.

1-800-550-4900 National Life Center

National Life Center's 24-hour hotline directs you to the closest Crisis Pregnancy Center in the United States and Canada.

1-800-848-LOVE Bethany Christian Services

Bethany Christian Services is one of the nation's leading providers of adoption and crisis pregnancy support information. They operate a national hotline which is active from 8 AM to 12 PM, 7 days a week. This hotline routes callers to one of 56 local offices which can then provide local and regional information. On-going education and support for parents are offered through our adoption support services. Bethany acknowledges that adoption is a life-long process and that adoptive families sometimes have unique issues and concerns. Bethany's adoption pre-screening and placement program is one of the most recommended in the country, and they have placed more than 11,000 children in adoptive homes. In addition, Bethany provides good community-based follow-up, both for women who choose adoption or who raise their child themselves.

1-800-BETHANY The Nurturing Network

Some 32,000 volunteer member resources nationwide provide individually tailored practical support to college and working women with unplanned pregnancies including counseling, medical, residential, educational, employment and financial resources.

Several Sources Foundation

Several Sources Foundation provides a 24-hour crisis pregnancy help line which can connect any caller to their local pregnancy help resources, including Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, and others. Their database of pregnancy help resources is one of the most complete in the nation. See for yourself at their great website!

1-800-662-2678 Gabriel Project

From the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Dr. Marcella Colbert directs this Catholic ministry that evangelizes and saves lives, using the local parish as the haven in which women who are pregnant and in need can hear an echo of Gabriels message, You have nothing to fear!

Abortion Alternatives
abortionweb.com In a 1994 article in Reader's Digest, author Mary Cunningham Agee reported that in interviews with women who had undergone an abortion, 91% said they would have continued the pregnancy if support had been available. This not only indicates a need for alternatives, but also explains the rise in services and programs available to help - including Agee's own Nurturing Network. When faced with a crisis pregnancy, some women have two immediate choices: to continue the pregnancy, or not. These two options are not for all women because:

abortion is not an alternative some are willing to consider for various reasons (including religious, ethical, medical, and personal beliefs) some women are unable or unwilling to recognize the fact that they are pregnant (denial, lack of early symptoms, etc.)

There are alternatives. Continuing the pregnancy means that further choices will have to be made. Parenting, nonpermanent care arrangements (custody, guardianship, etc.), and adoption represent a range of options that, while perhaps not what was planned, support and empower women in shaping the future life of a child. Who can help?

Crisis Pregnancy Centers Single parenting support groups

Counselors Spiritual or religious advisors Adoption agencies & other adoption professionals

An abortion is the removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death.
See also: Health & Medicine Pregnancy and Childbirth

This can occur spontaneously as a miscarriage, or be artificially induced through chemical, surgical or other means. Commonly, "abortion" refers to an induced procedure at any point in the pregnancy; medically, it is defined as a miscarriage or induced termination before twenty weeks' gestation, which is considered nonviable.

Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion is the natural or accidental termination of a pregnancy at a stage where the embryo or the fetus is incapable of surviving, generally defined at a gestation of prior to 20 weeks.

Termination of pregnancy

There are two types of abortion - spontaneous and induced. Spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) occurs without outside interference. Induced abortion occurs as a result of outside interference which may, in some circumstances, be illegal. A legal abortion terminates a pregnancy by separating and expelling, by surgical or medical means, the contents of the uterus of a pregnant woman. The Abortion and Sterilisation Act, 1975, makes provision for abortions to be performed by a medical practitioner under certain circumstances: Where continued pregnancy constitutes either a danger to the woman's life or a serious threat to her physical or mental health. The threat to the woman's mental health has to be of such a nature as to create the danger of permanent damage and the abortion has to be necessary to ensure her mental health; If there is a serious risk that the child to be born will suffer from a physical or mental defect that will make it irreparably seriously handicapped; If the foetus was conceived as a result of illegitimate carnal intercourse and the woman cannot understand the implications of - or bear parental responsibility for - the baby because of a permanent mental handicap or defect, or if the foetus was conceived as a result of rape or as a result of incest; If, in addition to all these factors, the woman herself consents to the abortion; Finally, the doctor due to perform the abortion has to have the written permission of the medical superintendent of the institution where the operation is to be performed.

Abortion is a controversial topic which arouses heated debate all over the world. There are generally two opposing points of view: 'pro-life' and 'pro-choice'. 'Pro-life' campaigners strongly disagree with abortion and lobby for laws which prohibit abortion (or allow it only under strictly limited circumstances). This viewpoint is often associated with fundamentalist religious groupings. 'Pro-choice' campaigners lobby for laws which allow for abortion on request. This viewpoint emphasises the right of a woman to choose whether or not she wants to have an abortion. The law on abortion in South Africa is changing. In 1995 a parliamentary committee heard evidence and submissions about possible changes to the law. Its report took a clearly 'prochoice' line and the Termination of Pregnancy Bill was drafted according to these recommendations. The bill was introduced to parliament for its consideration in the second half of 1996. Changing the law on abortion The Termination of Pregnancy Bill was introduced in parliament in the second half of 1996, amid heated controversy. The Bill proposed that abortion be allowed under the following circumstances: During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy at the request of the woman (`woman' is defined as a female person of any age); From the 13th week up to and including the 20th week if a medical practitioner, after consulting with another medical practitioner or a registered midwife:



is of the opinion that the continued pregnancy would present a risk of injury to the woman's mental or physical health or there is a substantial risk that the foetus would suffer from a severe physical or mental abnormality; is advised by a social worker that the pregnancy resulted from unlawful carnal intercourse (rape or incest) or an act of sexual abuse, or the continued pregnancy would severely affect the social or economic circumstances of the woman; After the 20th week if a medical practitioner, after consulting with another medical practitioner or registered midwife, is of the opinion that the continued pregnancy would endanger the woman's life or would result in a severe malformation of the foetus.

The Bill also provides that: Consent of the woman is required unless she is incapable of giving consent; Minors may make their own decisions about whether or not to have an abortion; Counselling is provided by the state; Medical personnel who have a conscientious objection to performing abortions do not have to do so but are compelled to refer the woman to someone who will perform the operation