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January 28, 1994     The Message
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January 28, 1994

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Supreme Court asked to rule on when life beg By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Supreme Court is being asked to rule on when life be- gins in a case in which a New Jersey man argues that he had an obligation to try to stop his fiancee's abortion and protect the unborn child's right to life. In a Jan. 18 press conference preceding the filing of the ap- peal, Patrick J. Mullaney, at- torney for Alexander V. Lore of New Jersey, said Mother Teresa intends to join 150 indi- viduals and organizations in asking the court to take the case. The question of when life be- gins has occupied theologians and scientists for centuries; the Catholic Church teaches that life begins at conception. But the question has never been defined clearly by the U.S. high court. Lore and 14 others were con- victed in April 1991 of criminal trespass for forcing their way into a clinic in an unsuccessful effort to stop his fiancee from having an abortion. Witnesses including renowned French geneticist Dr. Jerome LeJeune claimed at Loce's trial that the compo- nents necessary to constitute human life are locked in at the moment of conception. Lore hoped to convince Morristown, N.J., Municipal Court Judge Michael J. Noonan that he acted out of legal necessity to protect a human life. Noonan said he had to find Lore guilty because the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision protected the fi- ancee's right to have an abor- tion, but the judge also said he accepted as fact the argument that the fetus was a human being. New Jersey's Superior Court and the state appellate court upheld the trespassing convic- tions while not commenting on the argument about when life begins, Mullaney said. On Oct. 21 the New Jersey Supreme Court without comment de- clined to hear Loce's appeal. "It's been a lesson for me as an attorney the fervor with which the issue was avoided," Mullaney told CNS. He main- tains that significant scientific, technological and legal changes since Roe vs. Wade de- cision create a new environ- ment in which the Supreme Court should reconsider the constitutional issues of abor- tion. At the press conference, Mullaney said the question of whether an unborn child pos- sesses constitutional rights has been ignored by the Supreme Court. "If the unborn child pos- sesses the interest of life, as the record in this case demon- strates clearly as a matter of fact and as a matter of law, a profoundly important question is raised," Mullaney said, "does the law have the authority to Brochure summarizes bishops antideath penalty statements What does the Catholic Church teach about the death penalty? A brochure summarizing U.S. Catholic teaching about capital punishment has been pro- duced by Catholics Against Capital Punishment. "What the U.S. Catholic Bishops Have Said About the Death Penalty (1980-1993)" contains excerpts from more than a dozen major statements issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and by various state and regional bishops' groupings. Catholics Against Capital Punishment was founded in 1992 as a national advocacy organiza- tion working to help bring about the abolition of the death penalty in the United States by pro- moting greater awareness of church teaching on the topic. ignore life itself, to render it Mullaney al meaningless and to classify it out of existence?" Mullaney. said he expects the court to decide whether to ac- cept Loce's case by the end of March. In addition to the brief ex- pected from Mother Teresa, Mullaney provided a list of nearly 150 organizations from around the world that are sup- porting Loce's appeal for the Supreme Court to hear his claim. The list includes physi- cians, churches, lawyers, fam- ily groups and religious organi- zations from the United States, France, Brazil, Spain, Eng- land, Ecuador, New Zealand, Italy, South Africa and Aus- tralia. The Catholic Associa- tion of Scientists and Engi- neers, the Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore, the Catholic Women's League of New Zealand, the National Council of Catholic Women in the United States and several Catholic religious orders are among those listed. Teresa, would persor brief on court Feb. 4. Service, however, to confirm that order's New York, Last June, O'Connor of Loce's cause, Catholic diocesan pay the legal pressing the case. "You don't pro-life or nize the complications wrote Cardinal is past chairman bishops Committee ....... Activities. In a FebruarY the New Jet Court, Mother justices it was bility "to all of before you, can speak not." "SERVING ELBERFELD AREA SINCE t WITH DEPENDABILITY DIGNITY & DISTINCTION Three Locations To Serve You Free copies of the brochure are available by writing Catholics Against Capital Punishment, ( P.O. Box 3125, Arl"ngton, VA 22203. M PSON" R k t i n . , Continued from page I directed at abortion protesters, it really does," he said. 424-9288 "-..o Blakey said. "In other words it's a three-round fight and there are still two rounds to go." The ruling only considered whether RICO's reach can ex- tend beyond commercial activ- ity, Blakey noted, but "point- edly" did not take up the question of whether demon- strations such as pro-life block- ades constitute extortion. "The case was very narrowly drawn and (Jan. 24) media cov- erage made it mean more than "This unduly burdens active free speech expression, not just of pro-life demonstrators but even conscientious people in the areas of animal rights or environmental issues." Jay Alan Sekulow, an attor- ney for the American Center for Law and Justice who served as Blakey's co-counsel for NOW vs. Scheidler, said the next step would be to prove in U.S. District Court that the demonstrators did not violate the racketeering law. Io0"E: CO-UMBIAI EVANSVILLE !MPSON FUNERAL HOME ian Legal Society. The court also declined to consider whether First Amend- ment rights overrule the claim of RICO violations. "The Supreme Court's ruling on that issue could change the whole ballgame," McFarland said. Forsythe predicted more fi- nancial struggles for abortion- fighting organizations. "RICO is being rewritten by the court to bankrupt the pro- life organizations," he said. "Any First Amendment protest that affects business can now fall under the RICO, a law originally designed to thwart organized crime." The attorney who wrote the anti-racketeering law and ar- gued Scheidler's case before the Supreme Court told Catholic News Service he didn't think the justices under- stood the intent of Congress. "Had they read the legisla- tive history with understand- ing, I believe they would have seen that it was not meant to include demonstrations and political or social activity," said Robert G. Blakey, now a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. He was chief counselto the Senate Subcom- mittee on CHminal Laws and Procedur.e jn 1970 when the legislation,was written. 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