Dispatches > Human Race

Human Race

Issue: "The rise of localism," March 12, 2011


Bernard Nathanson, former abortionist turned pro-life advocate, died at the age of 84 on Feb. 21. After presiding over an estimated 75,000 abortions (including that of his own child) he denounced the practice in 1979 and produced the pro-life films The Silent Scream and Eclipse of Reason. In his autobiography, The Hand of God, he wrote, "I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age" of abortion. A convert to Catholicism in 1996, he said he found "an inexpressible sense of peace."


Former Kansas attorney general Phill Kline faced an ethics hearing Feb. 21-the latest salvo in a long investigation of his efforts to halt illegal late-term abortions. Kline filed 107 criminal charges against a Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park and then found himself facing allegations that he obtained affidavits based on falsified evidence and failed to disclose a conflict of interest. A disciplinary report filed in 2008 found there is no probable cause to prove that Kline violated ethics rules.


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Kelli Conlin, former head of NARAL Pro-Choice NY, is under investigation for misspending the organization's funds. An internal audit revealed that Conlin charged NARAL credit cards for designer clothes, $100,000 in car service, and a $17,000 summer rental in the Hamptons. Conlin resigned last January. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office oversees charities, finds himself in an awkward position since his father was treasurer of NARAL/NY during Conlin's questionable spending.


Abortionist Allen Palmer has closed his last abortion business, Women's Care Gynecology, in Bridgeton, Mo. In 40 years of performing abortions, Palmer faced multiple lawsuits from women who said he botched their abortions and left them sterile.


Former Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod is suing Andrew Breitbart, founder of the conservative site Big Government, for defamation of character. Last July, Breitbart's site posted an edited video that appeared to show Sherrod advocating discrimination against white farmers. Sherrod was forced to resign in the controversy, although the unedited version of the tape showed Sherrod repudiating her earlier prejudice toward white farmers.


Catherine Clark Kroeger, a central figure in the evangelical feminist movement, died on Feb. 14 at the age of 86. Kroeger authored, co-authored, or edited 13 books and also founded Christians for Biblical Equality, an organization that advocates female service in all church leadership roles. She taught at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.


Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi will stand trial under charges that he paid for sex with an underage girl and then intervened on her behalf when she was accused of theft. The trial begins April 6.


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