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National Abortion Federation Blog: Saporta Reporter

News about reproductive choice from the President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, Vicki Saporta. photo of Vicki Saporta
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  Remembering an American hero: George Tiller

We continue to mourn the loss of our friend and colleague, Dr. George Tiller. Dr. Tiller was a dedicated physician who provided quality abortion care to women, at great personal sacrifice and risk. He is truly a hero to his fellow abortion providers and his patients. Dr. Tiller’s office is filled with letters from women, thanking him for the excellent, compassionate care he provided. Many of these women say Dr. Tiller saved their lives.

Since his tragic death, we have received messages from some of his patients and from people around the world who are saddened and outraged. We feel it is important to share these words and tributes to our beloved colleague and friend. For the first time, we will enable comments on our blog so that all of you can share your condolences or offer memories of Dr. Tiller. We invite you to join us in honoring a true American hero, Dr. George Tiller.

Post your comments, condolences, and personal memories of Dr. Tiller

Friday, June 29, 2007

African Leaders Call for Legalized, Safe Abortion Care

This week leaders from ten African nations called for legislation to end unsafe abortion during a conference in Kenya, which addressed the application of international and regional human rights agreements to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Africa.

According to Kenyan Vice-President Moody Awori, 100 women die daily from unsafe abortion in Africa, and of the 19 million women who undergo unsafe abortion yearly, 4.2 million are in Africa. Awori said urgent solutions were needed to end unsafe abortion.

A protocol that authorizes legal abortions in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life or health of the woman has been ratified by 21 African countries including Tanzania and Rwanda. Kenya and Uganda have signed, but not ratified the protocol on women’s rights in Africa, however Awori said in a speech that ratification was “high on Kenya’s agenda.”

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

National Abortion Federation Condemns the President's Veto on Stem Cell Research

We issued the following release today:

Washington, DC - The National Abortion Federation (NAF) condemns President Bush's decision today to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which would expand federal funding for promising medical research. This legislation passed both the House of Representatives and Senate with strong bi-partisan support, and was also supported by a majority of Americans.

“In vetoing this legislation, the President has put his own politics above the lives and health of millions of Americans,” said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of NAF. “He is out of step with the majority of Americans who support this potentially life-saving medical research.”

NAF supports embryonic stem cell research, which has the potential to find new treatments, or even cures, for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's, ALS, and Alzheimer's.

We applaud Congress's passage of this bill.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Anti-Abortion Extremist James Kopp Sentenced to a Life Term for the Murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian in Violation of the FACE Act

Today anti-abortion extremist and confessed murderer James Kopp was sentenced to a life term without parole for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and 10 years for using a firearm to commit a violent act. This sentence follows the January 2007 federal trial where a jury found him guilty.

Kopp is already serving a 25-year-to-life state sentence for the 1998 murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, a Buffalo area abortion provider. Kopp is also a suspect in the non-fatal shootings of three abortion providers in Canada and one abortion provider in the U.S. during the 1990s.

Kopp carefully planned the murder of Dr. Slepian and deserved to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We cannot allow people to take the law into their own hands in order to advance their own personal, political agendas.

NAF was instrumental in advocating for the passage of the FACE Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1994. FACE prohibits the use of "force, threat of force or physical obstruction" to prevent someone from providing or receiving reproductive health care services.

Since 1977 NAF has been compiling statistics on violence and disruption against abortion providers. The very visible prosecution and conviction of anti-abortion extremists like Kopp along with the enforcement of the FACE Act have led to a decrease in major acts of violence against abortion providers.

Even though major acts of violence have decreased in recent years, many anti-abortion extremists still believe that it is justifiable to murder doctors because they provide women with safe and legal abortion care. We hope that Kopp’s life sentence without parole sends a clear message that violence against abortion providers will not be tolerated and that perpetrators of such crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

>Learn more about clinic violence, the FACE Act, Kopp, and the Army of God

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New Hampshire Senate Votes to Repeal Parental Notification Law

Last week, the New Hampshire Senate voted to repeal the state’s parental notification law by a 15 to 9 vote. The law, which would have required doctors to notify parents at least 48 hours before a minor obtains an abortion, was defeated in the House in March. Governor John Lynch has said he will sign the bill, making New Hampshire the first state to repeal a parental notification law.

The law was passed in 2003, but never took effect due to legal challenges reaching all the way to the Supreme Court in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. In January 2006, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court to determine if the state legislature would have passed the law with a health exception.

>Learn more about how parental involvement laws affect women.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Clinics and Patient Challenge Georgia’s Refusal to Offer Medicaid Coverage for ‘Medically Necessary’ Abortions

The Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a legal challenge brought against the state for its refusal to reimburse Medicaid recipients for abortion care when the procedure is needed to protect a woman's health. Several abortion clinics in Georgia and an unnamed Medicaid recipient sued the state arguing that it was unconstitutional to exclude “medically necessary” abortions from coverage. Under the current law, state Medicaid coverage can only be used to fund abortions in cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the woman.

In some cases, an abortion is necessary to protect a woman’s health even though her life is not in danger. Removing funding restrictions for abortion care is an integral step in ensuring that women are able to access the abortion care they need regardless of their financial circumstances.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Michigan’s Abortion Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that a Michigan statute, which banned certain abortion procedures, was unconstitutional. According to the court, the Legal Birth Definition Act was worded so broadly that in addition to banning intact dilation and extraction procedures, it would also prohibit other legal abortion methods. The law “showed no meaningful attempt to comply with the constitutional limitations articulated by federal courts in the area of abortion law,” Judge Boyce F. Martin Jr. wrote for the court.

This is the third attempt in the last ten years by Michigan lawmakers to restrict access to abortion procedures. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal law banning certain abortion procedures after the first trimester.

>Learn more about the Federal Abortion Ban

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