A federal court in Maryland has ruled that St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore should lose its accreditation if it does not allow its residents to learn about abortion and sterilization procedures.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, a national association, requires obstetric and gynecology programmes to provide training in abortion, sterilization and birth-control procedures.  Hence, it withdrew the hospital’s accreditation.  St. Agnes sued unsuccessfully to regain it, and the judicial ruling is now under appeal.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is harshly critical of the ruling, saying that it flies in the face of Maryland’s medical conscience clause, which allows medical personnel to refuse to participate in abortions.  (NC Register, Feb. 3, 1991)

Maryland Bullying

In February, Maryland governor William Schaefer signed into law a pro-abortion bill which protects abortionists from civil or criminal liability.  It also leaves it up to them to decide whether the parents of minor girls should be notified before an abortion.  Furthermore, it eliminates protection for health workers who do not refer for abortions.

Life spokesman Joy Ebauer called the passing of the law a tragedy: “This law provides for the people who need it least – abortionists, and strips away from the most defenceless among us: unborn children.”

‘Hammer the pro-lifers’: Oregon judge

After a four-week trial, a jury awarded $9.2 million in punitive damages to the Lovejoy Surgicenter.  Advocates for Life said that Judge James Ellis had directed the jury to find all the defendants guilty, for their efforts to interfere with business at a downtown abortion ‘clinic’ in Portland, Oregon.

On several occasions Judge Ellis shouted at the defence lawyer William Bailey in front of the jury.  Before the trial, he had told Bailey that the accused were clearly guilty, and that the jury would ‘hammer’ them.  Obediently, the jury awarded damages of $200,000 each from 31 named defendants, plus larger sums from Advocates for Life Ministries and its three board members.  Not surprisingly, Mr. Bailey thinks he has grounds for appeal.  (The Wanderer, Feb. 28, 1991)

Forced contraception

A California judge ordered Darlene Johnson, a mother of four found guilty of beating her children with a belt, to be implanted with Norplant, a long-lasting drug which often works as an abortifacients.

Faced with the alternative of a four-year prison term, Ms. Johnson agreed to have the drug inserted.  Sheldon Segal of the Rockefeller Foundation, the man who developed the drug, was bothered by the judge’s decision.

“How does a judge know if a woman is diabetic or has some other contraindication to the drug?  That’s not his business.”  (The Wanderer, Jan. 24, 1991)

Aids Alert

Washington Watch, the newsletter of the Family Research Council, noted in the February 1991 issue that homosexual activists have been campaigning for years against regulations baring people with sexually transmitted diseases (specifically HIV) from entering the U.S.A.

On January 23, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would no longer include STDs and HIV on its list of communicable diseases warranting exclusion from the country.

Ironically, the American Medical Association adopted a resolution in 1990 stating that omission of HIV from the health assessment of immigrants “would be a change in long-standing U.S. policy and difficult to justify on medical, scientific, or economic grounds.”

Condoms and Moral Dignity

The bishops of Massachusetts have called a state-funded condom promotion campaign contrary to the moral dignity of citizens.  There are an estimated 30,000 people in the state who are HIV infected, and the bishops share the concern of the authorities about this alarming fact.

But the advertising campaign, they say, “errs by distracting attention from the essential question of moral responsibility by implying that the challenge of sexual responsibility can be resolved by the use of a condom.”  (N.C. Register, December 2, 1990)

Bishop Gracida Honoured

For its awards ceremony March 3, the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League selected Bishop Rene Gracida of Corpus Christi, Texas, to be the recipient of its 1991 Protector Award.  He is praised by both Catholics and non-Catholics for his leadership in demanding that Catholics choose between their faith and their involvement in abortion.

He has sent several warnings to a physician and two abortion clinic directors telling them that the termination of pregnancy through abortion is inconsistent with Catholic teaching.

He has also led pro-life marches and given his support to the Rescue movement.

Bishop Gracida himself has received strong support from the heavily Catholic Corpus Christi community – except from feminist nuns and liberal Catholics who both insist that the Church has no right to enforce its anti-abortion policy.

Sacramento Scandal

The feast of the Epiphany, January 6, will be long remembered in Sacramento.  On the second day of the inaugural ceremonies for the new Governor of California, Pete Wilson, an ecumenical prayer service was held in the R.C. Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, this after many pleadings by phone and letter not to do so.

Traditional Catholics and non-Catholic pro-lifers were scandalized.  During his campaign Wilson had competed with Dianne Feinstein to see who could promise the most to promote abortion and homosexuality.

After the cathedral’s pastor, Msgr. James Kidder had pronounced a benediction, Chicago pro-life leader Joe Scheidler stood up and said, “Msgr. Kidder, may Governor-elect Wilson renounce his pro-abortion position which makes this ceremony a sacrilege.”

Scheidler and other pro-life protesters were hauled away by the police.

(The Wanderer. January 24, 1991)

Awake – After Eight Years

After eight years of mute semi-consciousness, Conley Holbrook, 26, came out of his coma at the beginning of March while being treated in a Lexington, North Carolina hospital for pneumonia.  He surprised his mother by calling out, “Momma.”  Then he named two people who he said had beaten him with a log on November 27, 1982.

One of them, his cousin Donald Ray Combs, was subsequently arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

“I was astonished,” said Mr. Conley’s mother.  “I never gave up on him.  This is just a miracle.”

Dr. Marc Fedder, the internist who has looked after him since 1983, said it is highly unusual for someone to regain consciousness after more than a few weeks in a vegetative state.  “I haven’t heard anything like this,” he said.  (Toronto Star, March 7 and 8, 1991)