Canton Repository

January 25, 2005

Stark residents take stand against abortion

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON -- Abortion opponent Audra Kline, a sophomore at Walsh University in North Canton, looks forward to the day when the U.S. Supreme Court might overturn its 1973 ruling that legalized abortion.

But in the meantime, the Bolivar teen believes that by standing up for what she believes in, she can make a difference.

“Just being a witness, it’s one of the greatest things you can do,” said Kline, who joined tens of thousands of abortion foes who participated in the 32nd annual March for Life on Monday in the nation’s capital. Nellie Gray, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, estimated the crowd at nearly 100,000.

Kline, who carried a sign stating, “Women deserve better than abortion,” was among more than 100 abortion opponents who came to the event from the Stark County area.

Leaders of the march expressed cautious optimism that President Bush’s re-election and Republican gains in the House and Senate during the November election have increased their chance of legislative success.

“We’re making progress in Washington,” Bush told a rally Monday near the White House in a telephone message from Camp David. “I encourage you to take heart from our achievements, because a true culture of life cannot be sustained solely by changing laws. We need, most of all, to change hearts.”

Abortion-rights advocates pledged to fight any efforts to limit abortion.

“The million-plus people who marched for women’s freedom and privacy last spring represent the American mainstream a lot better than the small number of fringe activists who came to D.C. today,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, in a statement.

Keenan added that if Bush “tries to pack the Supreme Court with out-of-touch, far-right judges who want to take away our rights, he’s going to hear from that pro-choice majority loud and clear.”

Among those at the March for Life, there was speculation that one or more justices might retire in the next four years, giving Bush an opportunity to nominate successors who oppose abortion.

Michelle Fober of North Canton, the director of religious education for Little Flower Catholic Parish in Plain Township, said she does not expect the high court to overturn Roe vs. Wade anytime soon.

“But I’m very hopeful of who could be appointed to the Supreme Court and begin to develop a respect for human life,” she added.

Earlier in the day, the National Right to Life Committee identified two proposals that it believes have an improved chance of passage as a result of a net gain of one to three lawmakers opposing abortion in the Senate.

Reps. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Chris Smith, R-N.J., plan to reintroduce legislation that would require physicians to provide information to a woman seeking an abortion on the pain it would cause to a fetus. The plan would apply to any women whose fetus is 20 or more weeks old.

Another bill, the Child Custody Protection Act, would make it a federal crime to take a minor across state lines for an abortion to avert the parents’ right to be notified beforehand. The House has passed the bill three times, but it has failed to win Senate approval.

Such a bill could have an effect in Ohio, where state law requires a minor to notify a parent before having an abortion.

As she began the long cold trek to the Supreme Court, a shivering Kline imagined that the march might cause onlookers to give the issue a second thought and thus increase awareness of abortion.

“When we say liberty and justice for all, they (those who are aborted) are not getting liberty and justice,” she said. “It’s a contradiction.”