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Abortion

National | A round-up up happenings on the abortion front.

Issue: "Tipping the Scales," Oct. 5, 1996

**red_square** Compromise averts taxpayer-funded abortions in Arkansas

A showdown over Medicaid funding of abortions in Arkansas has ended peacefully. The federal government had threatened to cut off Arkansas' $1.2 billion annual Medicaid allotment unless the governor relented and paid the state's share of an incest abortion. Mike Huckabee, the pro-life governor, refused on the grounds that the state's constitution allows the expenditure of taxpayer dollars for abortions only when an indigent mother's life is at risk. The impasse was broken after a third-party payment arrangement was set up to fund abortions in the case of rape or incest with donated money, instead of public funds.

The Arkansas state constitution allows taxpayer (Medicaid) funding of abortions only when they're necessary to save the life of the mother. But federal law--the Hyde Amendment--adds cases of rape and incest, thereby creating a dilemma for Arkansas.

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In August, Gov. Huckabee refused to pay a $417 bill for an abortion obtained by a 15-year-old girl who allegedly was made pregnant by her stepfather. "The ban is still in effect," explained Joe Quinn, spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, although parts of the Arkansas pro-life constitutional amendment have been struck down by various courts.

The third-party compromise was hashed out over a period of weeks, and while it still faces some legal challenges, both sides of the abortion debate seem reasonably content with it.

Contributions to the third-party fund will be collected by a Little Rock accounting firm, under the aegis of the state Department of Human Services. The department will review each case before approving it. The doctor or clinic must prove that the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. The department will then notify the trustees of the third-party trust fund, authorizing payment.

Mr. Quinn estimates that there will be less than 10 abortions per year that qualify. "In the last five years, there's been only one," he noted.

Still, some pro-life factions would have preferred that Arkansas give up its Medicaid funding entirely, rather than agree to the compromise. And on the other side, some pro-abortion groups who felt they had Gov. Huckabee in a corner are "still irritated," Mr. Quinn said.

**red_square** Republicans back Clinton veto

House Republicans who supported President Clinton's veto of the partial-birth abortion bill.

* Jim Kolbe, Ariz.

* Tom Campbell, Calif.

* Stephen Horn, Calif.

* Gary Franks, Conn.

* Christopher Shays, Conn.

* Nancy Johnson, Conn.

* Jan Meyers, Kansas

* Connie Morella, Md.

* Peter Torkildsen, Mass.

* Rodney Freylinghuysen, N.J.

* Dick Zimmer, N.J.

* Sherwood Boehlert, N.Y.

* Benjamin Gilman, N.Y.

* Sue Kelly, N.Y.

* Jim Greenwood, Penn.

. and its GOP supporters in the Senate:

* John Chafee, R.I.

* James Jeffords, Vt.

* Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Col.

* William Cohen, Maine

* Nancy Kassebaum, Kansas

* Alan Simpson, Wyom.

* Olympia Snowe, Maine

**red_square** Ad campaign targets abortion-minded moms

Many crisis pregnancy centers, slandered over the years by pro-abortion activists, are having trouble attracting abortion-minded women into their centers. An advertising strategy developed by Carenet, an umbrella group for 400 CPCs, appears to be helping.

Carenet's test of the new strategy took place in southeast Florida, where 10 billboards carried a simple, uniform message--"Pregnant? Free Pregnancy Tests. Caring and confidential. Call 1-800-395-HELP"--in a test area stretching from Vero Beach through Miami. Incoming calls were routed automatically to one of 10 Carenet centers in that area.

The effort cost $15,000, but after 10 weeks the Carenet centers had increased their case loads by almost 60 percent, from 1,000 clients who would normally contact the centers during that same period to 1,588.

Carenet will have half of its centers nationwide hooked up to the 800 number by the end of 1996, and the other half by the end of 1997. The group estimates that each local advertising campaign and phone referral program will result in 300 additional women a year coming into each crisis pregnancy center. Nationwide, 120,000 additional women would be helped.

Cal Thomas
Cal Thomas

Cal, whose syndicated column appears on WORLD's website and in more than 500 newspapers, is a frequent contributor to WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Cal on Twitter @CalThomas.

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