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Reproductive Rights - Abortion-related Legislation Becomes A Must

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In 84 percent of U.S. counties no physicians are willing to perform an abortion. Between 1977 and 1994 more than 2,500 bombings, arsons, blockades and episodes of vandalism were directed at abortion clinics. In response to these acts of violence, Congress passed The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 (FACE). This statute prohibits the use or threats of force, physical obstruction, and property damage directed at people obtaining or providing reproductive care. In 1996, Congress passed a bill prohibiting state medical schools from requiring abortion training and threatened withdrawal of federal and state funding from such programs.

In 1997, Congress passed legislation, the Partial Birth Abortion Ban of 1997, which prohibited physicians from performing certain abortion procedures. President Clinton vetoed the bill on the grounds that it did not contain provisions for performing the procedures to preserve a woman's health--provisions which were established in prior decisions of the Supreme Court.

There is evidence to suggest that opposition to abortion practices is growing. Some anti-abortion groups have even tried to justify terrorism to discourage the practice. In 1997, for example, the National Organization for Women filed a class action lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. In National Organization for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, a state court rejected the defendants' claim that their "moral imperative" to stop abortion made terrorism necessary and acceptable. More recently, Congress drafted the Child Custody Protection Act of 1998, which would prohibit the transport of a minor across state lines for an abortion unless the minor had already fulfilled the requirements of her home state's parental involvement law.

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