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OMAHA WORLD-HERALD
Wednesday, January 17, 1996

 

Abortion Foes Winning, Keynote Speaker Says

BY ANGIE BRUNKOW, WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

Abortion opponents are turning the tide when it comes to the battle over abortion rights, said Father Frank Pavone, the keynote speaker at Metro Right to Life's annual dinner Tuesday.

"We're winning," he told about 650 people gathered at the group's Celebration of Life dinner at Ak-Sar-Ben. "American people are getting tired of abortion."

Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, who travels nationwide speaking against abortion, said abortion-rights advocates are learning by experience that the practice is a dead end.

Using a dead-end road as an example, he said that drivers see signs warning of what's ahead, but it's often not until they get to the road's end that they realize the direction they're heading.

Pavone said he was encouraged by the opposition to abortion now voiced by women who have had abortions and physicians who have performed the procedure.

He also said that the movement against abortion is a movement for women. A woman having an abortion often has few choices, he said. She is faced with pressure from her family, boyfriend and others, he said.

"Women going in for abortions really don't want them," he said. "It's not always their choice." The movement against abortion offers women crisis pregnancy counseling and support during pregnancy, he said.

"We're trying to save the child and the mother," he said. "Let's help them with choices. We have all sorts of alternatives to abortion."

A Blair man and his parents were honored during the dinner for their efforts to stop the man's girlfriend, Ruby Scott, from having an abortion.

The man, R. Heath Mayfield, and his mother and stepfather, Kathy and John Hull, were thrown into the center of the national abortion debate when they were named in a lawsuit that alleges that they intimidated and harassed Miss Scott to keep her from having an abortion. Miss Scott's baby, named Breezy, recently turned a year old.

Sally Lansdale, Omaha-Council Bluffs chapter coordinator for the National Organization for Women, said she was not surprised by the award.

"They gave him an award for preventing someone from attempting to exercise her legal right," she said. "They're encouraging people to break the law."

"I'm certainly not surprised," she said. "It follows along with their whole agenda."

About 15 abortion-rights advocates stood outside Ak-Sar-Ben on Tuesday holding signs that said 'Keep Abortion Legal' and silently protesting the dinner. Abortion foes try to deny women's rights, they said.

Monte Lefholtz, a spokesman for the local NOW chapter, said bans on abortions have led to the deaths of women in the past. "I don't see how that's pro-woman at all," he said.

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