Iowa labor organizer Midge Slater prayed Aug. 28 as about 80 people protested a proposal before the Iowa Board of Medicine to require doctors to meet in person with women before giving them abortion drugs, thereby prohibiting Webcam, or "telemedicine," abortions.
Two Democratic candidates for governor were among those with Slater when she prayed, "We give thanks and celebrate that abortion is still safe and legal."
The liberal Progress Iowa videoed and The Washington Examiner reported the prayer, which also expressed gratitude to God for "the doctors, both current and future, who provide quality abortion care, and pray that they may be kept safe."
In addition, Slater prayed:
-- "For women for whom pregnancy is not good news, that they know they have choices;"
-- "For compassionate religious voices to speak out for the dignity and autonomy of women;"
-- "For our daughters and granddaughters, that they will always know the power of making their own good decisions;"
-- "For the 45 million American women who have had safe, legal abortions. May they stand tall and refuse shame," and
-- "For elected officials, that they may always support a woman's right to make her own medical decisions."
Two days after the protest and Slater's prayer, the Board of Medicine approved the proposal in question, which effectively ends Planned Parenthood's "telemed" abortion system in the state.
British prosecutors refuse to challenge sex-selection violations
British prosecutors have refused to charge two doctors who agreed to perform sex-selection abortions, even though prosecutors acknowledged the evidence warranted prosecution with a "realistic prospect of conviction."
Critics inside and outside the government decried the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which was reported Sept. 4 by The Daily Telegraph.
After a 19-month investigation, the CPS said there was ample evidence for a possible conviction under a law prohibiting sex-selection abortions, but the case failed a "public interest test," according to The Telegraph.
In a February 2012, hidden-camera investigation, undercover reporters with The Telegraph accompanied pregnant women and filmed physicians indicating their willingness to abort unborn children based on their sex, and to provide false information on written forms to hide the reason for the abortions.
Prabha Sivaraman, an obstetrician/gynecologist, told a mother who said she wanted an abortion because the baby was a girl: "I don't ask questions. If you want a termination, you want a termination."
Jeremy Hunt, Britain's Health secretary, requested "urgent clarification" of the basis for the CPS decision. "We are clear that gender-selection abortion is against the law and completely unacceptable," he said, The Telegraph reported.
Peter Saunders, chief executive officer of the pro-life Christian Medical Fellowship, said the CPS action "seems to put doctors above the law and raises questions about the CPS upholding the will of Parliament."
"We seem to have doctors being allowed to reinterpret the law with apparent impunity -- it is quite extraordinary," he said, according to The Telegraph.
Sex-selection abortion is a major problem in such Asian countries as China and India. There is evidence it also is being practiced among some communities in the United States.
A March 2008 study published in the journal of the National Academy of Sciences found American-born children of Chinese, Korean and Asian Indian parents were more likely than those of white parents to be boys, if the first children in the families were girls, according to ABC News. The third child in such communities was 50 percent more likely to be a boy if the first two children were girls.
Albuquerque to vote on late-term abortion ban
Albuquerque, N.M., voters will have the opportunity to make their city the first in the country to enact a ban on abortions 20 weeks or more into pregnancy.
In a 5-4 vote, the Albuquerque City Council set Nov. 19 for a special election on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The measure, which would permit an exception for endangerment of the mother's life, is set at halfway through pregnancy, based on scientific evidence that an unborn child at that stage of development experiences pain.
The City Council approved the special election date after supporters of the ordinance gained more than twice the 12,000 or so signatures needed for it to qualify for the ballot.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed similar legislation in a 228-196 vote in June, but the Senate is not expected to approve the bill.
U.S. birth rate falls to another record low
The United States birth rate reached another record low last year, but demographers predict it will reverse itself.
The 2012 rate was 63.0 births per 1,000 women who are 15 to 44 years of age, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The previous record low was 63.2 in 2011, CNN reported Sept. 6.
Those figures compare to a birth rate of 127 in 1909, the year the federal government began keeping track. The rate was 118 in 1960.
The rate will increase this year, according to Demographic Intelligence.
"We think that this fertility decline is now over," said Sam Sturgeon, president of Demographic Intelligence, according to CNN. "As the economy rebounds and women have the children they postponed immediately after the Great Recession, we are seeing an uptick in U.S. fertility."
Compiled by Washington bureau chief Tom Strode. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
Copyright (c) 2013 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net