An Inclusive Litany

11/2/98

A truck driver who dumped cardboard boxes full of aborted fetuses in a California field was sentenced to 71 days in jail for "illegally disposing of medical waste." That left San Bernardino county coroner Brian McCormick stuck with the costly disposal problem, so he accepted an offer from pro-life groups to dispose of the fetuses respectfully by burying them in a cemetery. The Southern California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union immediately threatened legal action over the handling of "this fetal material," declaring that the "discarding of fetuses in this manner raises concerns about the county coroner's failure to adhere to California health laws."

When asked a week later whose civil liberties were being protected by the legal action and why anyone (religious or not) who believed the fetuses to be human beings should be prevented from burying them, ACLU president Nadine Strossen, apparently taken by surprise, commented that "many groups call themselves branches of the ACLU when they're not." The national office later announced a reversal of her position: "Nadine Strossen now fully understands and supports the position of the ACLU of Southern California."

The burial took place on October 11, 1998, and it is unclear whether the fetuses will at some point be disinterred for disposal by other means.

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