Local activists mobilize over abortion bill - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/17/09

Local activists mobilize over abortion bill

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - To some it's a dirty word. To others, it's a solution. Either way, there's always heated debate when it comes to abortion.

"Whenever the fetus reaches the stage of viability and is actually born. Then, that's when i believe life begins," said Tony Thornton of Planned Parenthood. 

"We know when life begins. Science tells us that as well. Life begins at conception," disputes Waldo Martinez.  Martinez is a doctor, a Deacon in the Catholic Church, and adamently against the Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA.  FOCA would keep states from making any laws to restrict abortions. "This piece of legislation says the states can't regulate in any way, mean, or form. So, it's all hands off. It's free abortion, on demand, by anybody, at anytime," said Martinez. 

The act is not yet before Congress, but in nearly every session legislators propose similar bills. Now, with a new administration, the Catholic Church fears this time it will pass. Martinez says the church decided to take a proactive stand. In the next few days, the area's Congressmen will receive thousands of letters from local Catholics asking them to oppose FOCA.  

Martinez says he doesn't think this interferes with separation of church and state because he considers abortion a moral issue. "Religion inherently deals with moral issues, and so anytime you deal with a moral issue, religion is going to play a part," Martinez said. 

The President of Planned Parenthood in Lubbock, Tony Thorton, passionately disagrees. "It's not about the moral issue. It's about the safety of a woman and keeping that right to choose a safe option," he said. 

Thorton also considers himself a religious man, but he supports FOCA. "You can make all the laws you want, and if a woman chooses to have an abortion she's going to find a way. So, our goal is to keep it safe," he added. 

Thornton says Planned Parenthood will spearhead a similar letter writing campaign to ask law makers to support the bill.

As the right to life and the freedom of choice collide, both sides hope to make their voice heard.

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