February 12, 2001
The Virginia Senate passed a bill making it mandatory for women who are seeking abortions to have a 24-hour waiting period between the time they seek medical advice and when the procedure is performed. The two-day battle in the Virginia Senate was won by a 24-16 vote. The waiting period was passed to insure that women have the opportunity to reflect on the risks of abortion and their other options. Nineteen other states have similar laws with the waiting period ranging from one hour to three days. Opponents of the bill claim that women will merely cross state lines in order to have the procedure done immediately. Supporters of the waiting period have said that rather than restricting a woman’s choice it would allow her to fully understand abortion and its risks.
Violent Television Programming
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has urged pediatricians to start local coalitions to educate communities on the devastating effects of violent and sexually explicit television programming. The AAP has fought the television industry in the past but efforts have been minimal. Victor Strasburger, AAP’s author of the new policy, has said that the Surgeon General “blew off the role of media in youth violence” in his most recent report. The AAP recommends that parents limit the length of time their children are permitted to watch TV, for children 2 and under they suggest no TV and strongly discourage television sets in children’s bedrooms.
Leading Students to Denounce God
A group of public school educators in Kansas have written new science standards for their state. There have been several complaints that these standards include teaching “naturalism”-a form of atheism. Intelligent Design Network, a Kansas based group, has asked for several changes in the standards, claiming that the teaching of natural science leads students to denounce God. The group also asks that the standards include not using the word “all” when referring to scientists agreeing on something, but instead ask that the word “many” be used. In 1999, the Kansas school board looked into the change of the science standard to ease concerns of Christian parents who do not believe in evolution but instead believe in a literal six-day creation. Due to this controversy, three conservatives on the Board were defeated in the fall election. John Calvert, President of the Intelligent Design Network who is a lawyer and geologist said, “Our proposal is focused on one issue. It seeks only to stop the teaching or preaching of naturalism to our children in the area of origins science.”