by Timothy Elphick
CHURCH and pro-life leaders in the United States this week hailed a Supreme Court decision giving individual states new powers to introduce laws restricting abortion. They called the move a landmark in their campaign, despite the refusal of the nine sitting judges to outlaw abortion altogether.
The court's decision, which is expected to propel abortion to the top of the forthcoming US presidential campaign agenda, was one vote short of the majority needed to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that gave abortion constitutional protection.
The decision is being interpreted by the Church as a victory, and several states are poised to introduce new antiabortion legislation.
If President George Bush is returned to the White House in November, the likely appointment of new antiabortion judges could spell the end of legalised abortion in the United States. Bush's challenger for the presidency, Democrat Bill Clinton, has said he will oppose any such move.
"It is an important step in protecting minors from the tragedy of abortion and giving mothers full information and a time for reflection about abortion," said Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia, the state which sparked off the current abortion controversy.