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October 12, 2006 Edition

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Respect life:
Parental involvement in abortion decision

As we observe October as Respect Life Month, our thoughts turn to the issue of abortion. The right to life of our most vulnerable persons - the helpless baby in the mother's womb - should be a concern for everyone.

Unborn babies cannot protect themselves. It is up to society to assist their mothers and fathers, to help them make the choice for the life of their unborn children.

Parental notification. We know how important it is for parents to be involved in their daughter's lives, especially making a crucial decision involving the future of their grandchildren. But there are problems involving interstate abortions for minors.

To help remedy this on a national level, on September 26 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill by a vote of 264-153 making it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion without her parents' consent. The Child Custody Protection Act awaits approval by the U.S. Senate - and signature of the president - before it can become a law.

The bill approved by the House guards against situations where a girl could be taken by an abusive boyfriend or other individual to have an abortion out of state without her parents' knowledge. This proposed legislation also requires that, in cases where a minor seeking an abortion travels to another state without a parental involvement law, abortionists provide at least 24 hours' notice of the minor's decision to a parent or a legal guardian before an abortion.

This bill has teeth in it. Failure to follow the law would be a federal crime subject to up to a $100,000 fine or one year of prison - or both. The same penalty would apply for those who transport a minor across state lines to circumvent their state's parental notification law.

Helping pregnant girls. "Parents have a responsibility to protect their children's health and well-being, and this legislation helps them do this," said Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin's First District, who voted for the bill. "It will help prevent young girls from being pressured into crossing state lines for an abortion that they conceal from their parents - something we should all agree is dangerous and harmful."

The proposed legislation contains exceptions for life-threatening or medical emergencies. It also provides exceptions for cases where a minor declares in a written statement that she is the victim of abuse by a parent.

Those concerned about this issue should contact Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold urging them to support the Child Custody Protection Act. It is one way we can provide support for minor pregnant girls and ensure that their parents are involved in helping them choose life.

Mary C. Uhler

Editor's note: Since this editorial was written, the Senate failed to pass the Child Custody Protection Act. Both Wisconsin senators voted against the measure.

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Mailbag policy
We reserve the right to edit or reject letters. Limit letters to 200 words or less. All letters must be signed. Please include your city or town of residence.

Send letters to:
The Catholic Herald
P.O. Box 44985
Madison, WI 53744-4985

Fax: 608-821-3071
E-mail: info@madisoncatholicherald.org

Responses to State Journal articles on stem-cell research

To the editor:

The Wisconsin State Journal, a staunch advocate of embryonic cell research, declined to print these two letters contesting their viewpoint.

First letter

Re: Professor Ian Duncan's letter on "The untruths of stem-cell research":

At one time all of us, including professors and numbskulls like myself, were "tiny pre-implantable blastocysts." But we were humans, not turnips. Humans should not be destroyed for the sake of other humans regardless of their size.

Somewhere on this planet resides a tiny blastocyst who might be lucky enough to escape an embryonic cell research lab and survive to become an umbilical-cord stem-cell researcher at UW.

Second letter

Re: your editorial brush-off of human embryos:

"The vast majority of the public - including many Republicans - doesn't have a problem with manipulating a small number of tiny cells destined to be destroyed anyway . . .

"Such eggs - which amount to clumps of cells so small they can't be seen by the naked eye - would be thrown out regardless of whether or not they would be used for stem-cell research."

We have now reached the point where we dispose of tiny humans as though they were lab rats.

Joseph Fogerty, Madison

New community promotes life

To the editor,

Most faithful Catholics are disgusted by legal abortion in our country. The common theme while discussing it, however, seems to be that no one knows what they can do about it. Many feel that they can't make a difference against the political machines pushing for death in our country.

Well, God has heard our prayers for life. He is developing a new group of foot soldiers to fight the culture of death and they need our support. They are the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, and they are a community of Catholic missionaries whose sole purpose is to "train for and carry out the mission of full-time pro-life work."

Fr. Frank Pavone and the Priests for Life are building a base of operations for this new religious order in Amarillo, Texas. From there they will branch out throughout the country and world, fighting the current holocaust of abortion.

Join me in supporting them in our prayers and financial support! I truly feel that God has heard our pleas to end this evil and he is building up an army to do so. Check it out at www.priestsforlife.org or send donations to Priests for Life, P.O. Box 141172, Staten Island, N.Y. 10314-9920.

Remember, evil only needs good Christians to remain silent in order to succeed!

Tom Renz, Waterloo

Article had effect on voting

To the editor:

I thought you might like to know the tangible effect your article about me had on the vote in the Madison Diocese. Statewide, I won in eight of 72 counties. Six of those eight counties are in the Madison Diocese. My total percentage in the Madison Diocese was 51.89 percent. In no other region of the state did I do so well as in this diocese.

The result of this one race has had the ancillary effect of proving unequivocally that, one, Catholics vote in primaries; two, that they read their Catholic papers; and three, that Catholic papers clearly influence for whom their readers vote.

Nicholas J. Voegeli, Sun Prairie
(candidate for Wisconsin lieutenant governor)

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