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Anti-choice fanatic becomes federal judge
Abortion rights on Bush's hit list

By Nicole Colson | March 5, 2004 | Page 4

IT'S NO secret that abortion rights have been at the top of George W. Bush's hit list since the day he took over the White House. But in recent months, the attacks have come at an even more furious pace.

In November, the anti-choice bigots won the biggest victory yet in their campaign to chip away at women's right to choose when Congress passed a ban on a late-term abortion procedure misnamed "partial-birth" abortion by the anti-abortionists. Last month, Bush used a recess appointment to put anti-choice fanatic Judge William Pryor--whose nomination had been blocked by Congress--onto the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Pryor once called the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history," commenting that it was "the day seven members of our high court ripped the Constitution and ripped out the life of millions of unborn children."

Meanwhile, Attorney General John Ashcroft is trying to snoop into the records of patients receiving late-term abortions at hospitals across the U.S. Last week, the Justice Department went even further, issuing subpoenas to Planned Parenthood offices for the records of hundreds of surgical abortions performed in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., western Pennsylvania and the Kansas/mid-Missouri region.

At the same time, the House of Representatives passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which treats certain federal crimes against pregnant women as two crimes--against both the woman and the fetus she is carrying. If passed into law, the legislation is expected to undermine abortion rights by giving fetuses a new federal legal status. The definition is so loose that a fertilized egg could have the same rights as a person.

Don't expect the Democrats to stand up for abortion rights. Forty-seven House Democrats joined forces with Republicans in voting for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act--and 63 House and 11 Senate Democrats voted in favor of ban on late-term abortions in November. Neither of the Democratic presidential frontrunners, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John Edwards (D-N.C), bothered to show up to vote against the late-term abortion ban.

The right wing's recent victories against abortion make it more important than ever that we rebuild the fight for abortion rights in the streets. We can start with the April 25 "March for Women's Lives" in Washington, D.C. It's time to send a message to the Bush administration and the anti-choice bigots: We won't go back!

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