Justice watch

Doctors challenge new abortion ban

LINCOLN, NEB. - Opponents of a new federal ban on certain late-term abortions are already challenging it in court and say they're willing to press their case all the way to the US Supreme Court.

"Until we can make every pregnancy a planned pregnancy and a wanted pregnancy, then I think we have to honor the rights of women that decide to terminate their pregnancies," said LeRoy Carhart of Bellevue, Neb., who successfully challenged a similar ban in his home state three years ago.

Less than an hour after President Bush signed the federal law Nov. 5, Dr. Carhart and three other doctors won a temporary restraining order from a federal judge to block it. The order by US District Judge Richard Kopf in Lincoln applies only to the four doctors, who together are licensed in 13 states across the Midwest and East, and their staffs.

Federal judges in New York and San Francisco scheduled arguments Nov. 5 in challenges by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Plans for mosque brings protest

VOORHEES, N.J. - A request by a Muslim group to spruce up an abandoned office building for use as a mosque has sparked opposition, including inflammatory warnings it could attract people connected to terrorists.

Some people in this suburb about 25 miles south of Trenton would rather the old Lafayette Office Center stay as is - with weeds growing through cracks in the driveway and several old tires - than let the Muslim American Community Association purchase it.

The township's zoning board, however, approved the group's site plan for the property last week, and construction could start in the spring if no legal challenges are brought.

Zia Rahman, one of the Muslim group's three trustees, said there is a big enough concentration of Muslims around Voorhees to justify the mosque.

How prison impacts the family

With incarceration rates in the US at record highs, a new study examines its effect on families. Last month, the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., released "Families Left Behind: The Hidden Costs of Incarceration and Reentry."

• More than 1.5 million children have a parent in state or federal prison; an additional 5.8 million children have a parent in jail, on probation, or on parole.

• Of the 1.4 million adult prisoners in America, 750,000 are parents of minor children (55 percent of state prisoners and 6 percent of federal prisoners).

• Women are in prisons an average of 160 miles from their children, while men are, on average, 100 miles away.

• More than half of the incarcerated parents never receive a personal visit from their children.

- From the news wires

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