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"Focus" Leader Admits Court Ruling Endangers Women

BOSTON - Dispute within the Christian Right over the Supreme Court's April 18 decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act has led to the apparently inadvertent admission by a Focus on the Family official that the ruling could endanger women by forcing doctors to use a more dangerous procedure.

Focus on the Family vice president, Tom Minnery, told the Washington Post, "The old procedure, which is still legal, involves using forceps to pull the baby apart in utero, which means there is greater legal liability and danger of internal bleeding from a perforated uterus. So we firmly believe there will be fewer later-term abortions as a result of this ruling."

The paper failed to comment on the striking admission that the court's decision jeopardizes the health of women. In noting the slip, The Rev. Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, Executive Director of Political Research Associates, commented, "It's not surprising that Focus on the Family and other anti- choice advocates are willing to pursue their agenda at the expense of women's health. It is, however, chilling, even horrifying, to see them cavalierly admit to such a strategy."

The dispute that prompted Minnery's remarks is among those who, like Focus on the Family, support incremental steps to eventually ban all abortion and believe that this ban will reduce the number of late- term abortions by making them riskier for the women who need them and other anti-choice leaders who think the ruling will only effect the method, but not the number, of late term abortions and who insist that only more comprehensive bans are acceptable.

Political Research Associates is a progressive think tank that studies the U.S. Right and is the publisher of the quarterly The Public Eye.

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