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If you have any trouble finding the books above, contact Feminists For Life.
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:: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 ::

The Passion of Mel Gibson

I have not seen this movie, so I have no idea if it's any good. But here are some trailers: Passion Trailers. Requires Quicktime. If you want, read the comments of Barbara Nicolosi (and followup here), who has seen the movie. (And, no, she cannot get you in touch with Mel Gibson.)
:: John 7/23/2003 12:16:00 AM [+] ::

:: Thursday, July 10, 2003 ::

Maternity Store Sued for Pregnancy Discrimination After Employee Fired

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 30, 2003

Philadelphia, PA (LifeNews.com) -- Cynthia Papageorge, who was formerly a district manager at the Philadelphia-based maternity clothes retailer Mother's Work Inc., has filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that company officials fired her and other employees because of their pregnancies.

In the suit, which is being heard in U.S. District Court in Boston, Papageorge says that Frank Mullay, a vice president of the company, told her that she "wasn't able to handle [her] position 'in [her] state'" and "moved quickly" to fire her after visiting her in October 1999 during her 37th week of pregnancy.

Papageorge is seeking unspecified damages.

Mother's Work Inc. which operates 900 stores nationwide, including A Pea in the Pod, Mimi Maternity, iMaternity, and Motherhood Maternity.

In addition, Jan Dowe, who was Papageorge's boss at the time, in an affidavit said that Mullay told her to fire Papageorge while she was on maternity leave. Dowe refused to fire her after company personnel officials told her that dismissing Papageorge because of her pregnancy was illegal, according to the affidavit.

According to the lawsuit, Dowe was then fired after being told her job performance was "subpar," and Papageorge was fired after requesting medical leave for a shoulder injury.

Three other pregnancy discrimination lawsuits have been filed against Mothers Work, with two being settled out of court and one being dismissed.

One of the suits was filed by Dowe against Mothers Work, Mullay, and Rebecca and Dan Mathias. Rebecca started the company in 1982 when she was pregnant with her first child. Dan is her husband. The suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Mark Itzkowitz, Papageorge's attorney, told the Boston Globe, "It seems that pregnant women are subject to termination by virtue of their pregnancy. That position was made known in meetings with managers at Mothers Work. The other women were terminated for the same reason."

Sheryl Rothrogers, vice president of marketing at Mothers Work, said the allegations were "as far from the truth as possible," adding, "We're a company founded by a pregnant woman and we're an organization of women."

According to Rothrogers, the company has policies in place to "affirmatively and proactively help [the] diverse workplace balance family and work." Rothrogers said that Mothers Work "believe[s] the suit is without merit and will be appropriately and successfully defended."

Serrin Foster, President of Feminists for Life, was surprised at the irony of a maternity clothing company potentially engaging in pregnancy discrimination.

"It is mind blowing to think that a company named Mothers Work that profits from selling apparel to pregnant women would terminate [women's employment] because of their maternity," Foster told LifeNews.com. "I don't think this will play well with their customers."

Papageorge had been a manager at stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

John Augustine's comment: Many of you will remember my posts called "Abortion: Liberation or Capitulation?", "Have an Abortion or Give Up Your Job!", and "Another Woman Pressured Into Abortion". Women are not having abortions because they think it will be a fun, fulfilling, or emotionally satisfying experience. Women are having abortions because their jobs and schools refuse to cooperate with the needs of pregnant women and mothers. As you see above, a few threaten to oust pregnant women. Many pregnant women are made to feel quite unwelcome even without the overt threat. Women are having abortions because they do not know anyone who will share or give them practical resources, like food, housing, medical and legal services, clothing, baby supplies, etc. Women are having abortions because their parents, husbands, boyfriends, and/or friends do not provide them any emotional or material support, and in many cases actually ask or expect them to abort. Frederica Mathewes-Green listened to women who had procured abortions to find out their reasons for making that choice. Her conclusion? "No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg."

This is why Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, says "It is time for us to systematically eliminate the coercive factors that drive women to abortion --primarily the lack of practical resources and emotional support. We invite all organizations -- including women''s organizations that differ with us on abortion -- to join us. Every woman deserves better. We don''t have to settle for less." Since its founding, Feminists for Life of America has been working to do just that: to eliminate the coercive factors which lead pregnant women to believe they have no choice but to abort. Please see the links and books listed to the left of this blog for more information.
:: John 7/10/2003 06:47:00 PM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 ::

View Serrin Foster's Testimony

In case you missed Serrin deliver her testimony on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act before the House Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee yesterday which was broadcast on C-SPAN, go here to watch it via webcast:
Serrin's testimony appears near the middle of the recording, after Juley Fulcher, around 45 minutes in.

In order to view this webcast you will need to download the free Real Player program which you can find here:

Please note that they will take this down in a week.
:: John 7/09/2003 07:07:00 PM [+] ::

:: Tuesday, July 08, 2003 ::

Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. House of Representatives
Hearing on H.R. 1997
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act
July 8, 2003
Testimony of Serrin M. Foster
President, Feminists for Life of America

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee. My name is Serrin Foster and I am the President of Feminists for Life of America. Feminists for Life is an education and advocacy organization that continues the work of the early American feminists who championed both the rights of women and legal protection for the unborn.

Feminists for Life is a member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women. As a proud advocate of the Violence Against Women Act, we applaud the universal support by Members of Congress for VAWA. I thank the Members of Congress here who have supported VAWA. We can all be proud that statistics show violence against women has decreased since VAWA was enacted. But there is much more work to be done.

Feminists for Life has a track record of getting beyond deadlock on polarizing issues by addressing the root causes of the problems women face. One of the ways we do this is by listening to women and then prioritizing what women really want. Today I am pleased to speak from that perspective about an urgent question: What is the appropriate response to a woman who has lost her unborn child due to an assault that she survived? What is the appropriate response to survivors when an assault takes the lives of both a pregnant woman and the child she carries?

Sarah Norton, an early American feminist who was the first woman to seek admission to Cornell University, asked this question more than a century ago. Speaking of the then-common situation in which an unwilling father attempted to kill an unborn child, she asked, "Had the scheme been successful in destroying only the life aimed at, what could have been the man's crime-and what should be his punishment if, as accessory to one murder he commits two?" (Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly, November 19, 1870)

Today's victims are speaking loudly and clearly on this issue. We need to listen.

According to a recent two-year study by the Center for the Advancement of Women, run by Faye Wattleton, former president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, reducing violence against women is the number one priority of women. Women who are pregnant are at particular risk of being targeted for violence. In fact, recent studies by two different state health departments have shown that a leading cause of maternal mortality is not complications during pregnancy or childbirth-rather, it's homicide. For example, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, a Maryland study concluded that, "A pregnant or recently pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause."

We are hearing more and more horrible stories via mainstream media of pregnant women who are assaulted by those who do not want them to carry a child to term.

  • A doctor was videotaped as he tried to poison his pregnant fiancée.
  • Another doctor attacked his girlfriend's abdomen with a needle.
  • A number of women have tried to kill the unborn child of another woman who is involved with the same man.
  • Unwilling fathers have hired thugs to intentionally kill the unborn child.

For every story we hear, there are countless more that go untold, such as the story of Marion Syversen, a board member of Feminists for Life, who lost her unborn child when her abusive father threw her down a flight of stairs when she was pregnant.

Women who have survived such unthinkable violence are unequivocal: justice demands recognition of and remedy for both their assault and the killing of their unborn baby. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act would support justice for women who lose children as the result of a federal crime of violence.

Many women do not survive such crimes, and their grieving survivors are equally unequivocal: justice demands recognition of and remedy for the killing of both victims, the woman and her unborn child or children.

The gruesome and well-publicized case of Laci Peterson and her unborn baby, Conner, prompted Americans to examine their own convictions on this issue. The American people, too, were unequivocal. They recognize and mourn the loss of both mother and child. According to a Newsweek/Princeton Survey Research Associates poll released June 1, 2003, 84% of Americans believe that prosecutors should be able to bring a homicide charge on behalf of a fetus killed in the womb. This figure includes 56% who believe such a charge should apply at any point during pregnancy, and another 28% who would apply it after the baby is "viable," i.e., of sufficient lung development to survive outside the mother. Only 9% believe that a homicide charge should never be allowed for a fetus.

Feminists for Life and our partners in the Women Deserve Better® campaign support the Unborn Victims of Violence Act because it would provide justice for the victims of federal crimes of violence. As victims, survivors, and the American people clearly demand, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act would recognize an unborn child as a legal victim when he or she is injured or killed during the commission of a federal crime of violence.

Congresswoman Lofgren has introduced an alternative to the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, called the Motherhood Protection Act of 2003. Instead of recognizing a woman's unborn child as an additional victim, it would "provide additional punishment for certain crimes against women when the crimes cause an interruption in the normal course of their pregnancies."

An "interruption?" That implies something temporary, as if it were possible for the victim's pregnancy to start back up again. Dare we ask: mother of whom? Motherhood is neither protected nor honored through the proposed Motherhood Protection Act. Instead, it tells grieving mothers that their lost children don't count. It ignores these mothers' cries for recognition of their loss and for justice. It is a step backward in efforts to reduce violence against women.

Ten days ago in the Bronx, a 54-year-old man allegedly kicked and punched his 24-year-old girlfriend in the abdomen. Julie Harris was nine months pregnant at the time. She went through labor only to deliver stillborn twins. The Motherhood Protection Act, which some call the single victim substitute, would only recognize one of these three victims.

The family of California murder victims Laci and Conner Peterson is explicitly urging Congress to pass the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as Laci and Conner's Law-not the single-victim substitute. Sharon Rocha, Laci's mother and Conner's grandmother, concluded a letter to Senators DeWine, Hatch, and Graham and Congresswoman Hart:

I hope that every legislator will clearly understand that adoption of such a single-victim amendment would be a painful blow to those, like me, who are left alive after a two-victim crime, because Congress would be saying that Conner and other innocent unborn victims like him are not really victims-indeed, that they never really existed at all. But our grandson did live. He had a name, he was loved, and his life was violently taken from him before he ever saw the sun.

The application of a single-victim law, such as the [Lofgren] amendment, would be even more offensive in the many cases that involved mothers who themselves survive criminal attacks, but who lose their babies in those crimes. I don't understand how any legislator can vote to force prosecutors to tell such a grieving mother that she didn't really lose a baby-when she knows to the depths of her soul that she did. A legislator who votes for the single-victim amendment, however well motivated, votes to add insult to injury.

The advocates of the single-victim amendment seem to think that the only thing that matters is how severe a sentence can be meted out-but they are wrong. It matters even more that the true nature of the crime be recognized, so that the punishment-which should indeed be severe-will fit the true nature of the crime. This is a question not only of severity, but also of justice. The single-victim proposal would be a step away from justice, not toward it. For example, if Congresswoman Lofgren's legal philosophy was currently the law in California, there would be no second homicide charge for the murder of Conner.

The Unborn Victims of Violence Act would also avoid multiplying the pain of survivors of horrendous federal crimes of violence such as the bombing in Oklahoma City or the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

After years of trying to have a child, Carrie and Michael Lenz, Jr. were overjoyed to learn that she was carrying their son, whom they named Michael Lenz III. Carrying a copy of the sonogram, Carrie went to work early the next morning to show coworkers the first photo of baby Michael. She and Michael were killed, along with three other pregnant women and their unborn children, when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building exploded on April 19, 1995. This father's agony was multiplied later when he saw that the memorial named only his wife, not his son, as a victim. In the eyes of the federal government, there was no second victim. Timothy McVeigh was never held accountable for killing Michael Lenz's namesake.

If the legal system does not recognize the loss of the unborn child, it becomes an unwitting agent of the perpetrator who robbed the survivors of the child and the life they would have had together.

Women have a right to have children. When a woman has this right taken away from her due to violence that kills the fetus in her womb, she needs and deserves the support of all those who champion women's rights, including those who support legalized abortion. Columbia Law School Professor Michael Dorf, who is pro-choice, agrees: "Certainly pro-choice activists would oppose government-mandated sterilization. For similar reasons, they should support punishing feticide."

It is also worthwhile to note that outside the context of abortion, unborn children are often recognized as persons who warrant the law's protection. Most states, for example, allow recovery in one form or another for prenatal injuries. Roughly half the states criminalize fetal homicide. Unborn children have long been recognized as persons for purposes of inheritance, and a child unborn at the time of his or her father's wrongful death has been held to be among the children for whose benefit a wrongful death action may be brought. Federal law similarly recognizes the unborn child as a human subject deserving protection from harmful research.

Some have questioned whether it is reasonable to apply this law if the perpetrator is unaware that a woman is pregnant, especially if she is in the earliest stages of pregnancy.

Neither the Unborn Victims of Violence Act nor the Motherhood Protection Act makes a distinction about the age of the fetus. But would anyone seriously suggest-especially those who advocate a right to privacy-that it is a woman's responsibility to disclose her pregnancy to a potential attacker or murderer?

In 1990, the Supreme Court of Minnesota answered that question. In State v. Merrill, a man who killed a woman was responsible for two deaths, even though the woman was just 28 days pregnant. The court said: "The possibility that a female homicide victim of child-bearing age may be pregnant is a possibility that an assaulter may not safely exclude."

Knowing this may serve as a deterrent to future attacks on women of childbearing age.

We cannot tell grieving mothers like Tracy Marciniak, who testified here today, that her son Zachariah didn't count. We cannot tell Julie Harris, mother of twins, that there was only one victim when there were three. We cannot tell the families of Laci and Conner, or Carrie and Michael III, that they have only one loss to mourn. The Motherhood Protection Act would deny these victims the recognition and justice they deserve.

Women have spoken. Women want the justice promised by the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

We are asking our elected representatives to honestly answer the question in the case of Laci Peterson and baby Conner, was there one victim or two?

Those who support the single-victim substitute would deny women justice.

On behalf of women and families who have lost a child through violence, a father who has lost both his wife and child through terrorism, and Laci and Conner's family, I urge unanimous support for this bill, not the single-victim substitute.
:: John 7/08/2003 05:18:00 PM [+] ::

:: Friday, June 06, 2003 ::

Remember This?

Now that the U.S. House of Representatives, by a two-thirds vote (282-139), has joined the Senate in approving a bill to ban partial-birth abortions, I think it's time we all reminded ourselves of this (requires PDF reader). Print it out for your friends & family too.

The Thirty Years War: Dem candidates need to learn that to be against abortion is not to be against feminism
by Norah Vincent
Jewish World Review
Jan. 23, 2003/ 20 Shevat, 5763

Is the phrase "pro-life feminist" an oxymoron? The newly rechristened NARAL Pro-Choice America -- formerly known as the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League -- would like you to think so. With two Supreme Court justices poised to retire, a cagey "anti-choice" president itching to replace them and a simpatico Congress at the wheel, the feminist establishment is very nervous.

In recent weeks, it has been gearing up an all-out public relations campaign aimed at undecided women voters and, more important, the six major Democratic presidential hopefuls, all of whom attended NARAL's fund-raising dinner in Washington on Tuesday, the eve of the 30th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. The distaff lobby is playing the sex card and the message is clear: Abortion is going to be the litmus test in 2004, and if you're not pro-choice, you're anti-woman.

The blistering irony of this unquestioned association between feminism and legalized abortion is that it flies in the face of history, logic and experience. It may come as a surprise to many people, for example, to learn that the earliest women's rights advocates, also known as "first wave" feminists, adamantly opposed abortion. In the Revolution, her newsletter, Susan B. Anthony called it "child murder" and "infanticide." Mary Wollstonecraft denounced those who would "destroy the embryo in the womb or cast it off when born." Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organizer of the first U.S. women's rights congress, in 1848 in Seneca Falls, N.Y., also condemned abortion as "a disgusting and degrading crime."

When you consider what abortion really is biologically, it's hard to refute our foremothers on the issue. The reasoning is simple and syllogistic. The womb is one of the defining features of the female animal. The defining feature of abortion, meanwhile, is a denial or negation of the womb, because its sole purpose is to stop the womb from fulfilling its normal function.

Thus abortion is the ultimate negation of the female animal and therefore the ultimate misogynistic act. This is a singularly feminist argument because it emphasizes a woman's interest rather than a fetus'. It is on this woman-centered foundation that modern pro-life feminists, some of them refugees of the vehemently pro-abortion "second wave" feminist movement of the 1960s and '70s, build their case against abortion.

Far from seeing legalized abortion as offering women more choices, exiled apostate second-wavers like Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life of America, see it as a choice that has been made for many women: a cheap, quick fix that allows society to shirk its responsibility to provide affordable day care, housing, counseling and prenatal checkups to students, the poor and abandoned women. Many of these women opt for abortion because they lack the financial, emotional and institutional support to carry their pregnancies to term. Abortion, says Foster, is "a symptom of, not a solution to, the continuing struggles women face in the workplace, at home and in society."

On this issue, the second-wave feminist establishment -- as represented most visibly by NARAL and the National Organization for Women -- does not speak for all women or all feminists, nor should it presume to when seeking to define the terms of the 2004 presidential debate. Feminism is not monolithic and never will be if it remains true to its founding principle that a woman has a mind of her own and the right to express it freely.

There is a third wave in feminism, represented by the generation of women now in their 20s to mid-30s who have challenged the orthodoxy of their predecessors on abortion as well as date rape, sex and body image. Other third-wavers have wholeheartedly embraced the second-wave agenda. Both are the future of feminism. Both must be welcome under the umbrella of a diverse movement whose only common concern is that all women's voices be heard and that their votes not be taken for granted by the political party in whose pocket they reside.
:: John 6/06/2003 01:17:00 PM [+] ::

:: Friday, April 04, 2003 ::

Patricia Heaton Stirs More Controversy on A&E “Biography”

Two-time Emmy winner and Feminists for Life of America Honorary Chair Patricia Heaton was profiled Tuesday, April 1 on A&E during “Primetime Women Week” on "Biography."

Displaying the Feminists for Life website where Heaton appears in an ad stating, “Refuse to choose. Women deserve better,” the hour-long Biography noted that she was “a celebrity who’s not afraid of stirring up controversy whether the subject is politics, morality or herself.” In her work with Feminists for Life of America, “Heaton uses her fame, for instance, as a platform to campaign against abortion.”

Patricia Heaton is best known for her role as Debra in the hit CBS comedy, “Everybody Loves Raymond,” for which she has been recognized by her peers with back-to-back Emmys for Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role in a Comedy Series.

Her book, “How to Get a Job Like Mine in Hollywood,” which has just gone paperback, has made her a New York Times best selling author.

In real life Heaton is also the wife and mother of four beautiful boys. Heaton told Biography that her son Sam and the 3 boys that followed turned her into a better actress: “When I had kids, they took away all my free time, but they gave me tons of emotional life that I had never experienced before. Things came much more naturally to me, and I feel that my work loosened up and filled out because I had these other people in my life who were showing me a whole new way to live.”

When Heaton received the first of her two Emmys in 2000, she began with gratitude to her own mother. “I just want to thank God for thinking me up and my mother for letting me come out, because life is really amazing!”

By the year 2000, she was one of the most recognizable stars on television. She was being compared to some of the greatest actresses who’d ever been on television: “Audrey Meadows, Mary Tyler Moore. That’s a good league to be in, don’t you think?” asks Phillip Rosenthal, executive producer for “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

She is also in league with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other trailblazing women who refused to choose between women and unborn children,” said FFL President Serrin Foster. Feminists for Life continues the tradition of the early American Feminists who opposed abortion because of their belief in the worth of all human beings.

“I feel like everybody has the right to life according to the Constitution,” Heaton is pictured saying to an audience this past November at UCLA, as FFL President Serrin Foster, at her side, cheers her on with a resounding “Yes!” Heaton describes how she finds the courage to hold a position unpopular in her profession by explaining: “At the end of the day, I believe I have to answer to God for the actions in my life, the actions that I took and the actions that I didn’t take. So that’s scarier to me than somebody in the Hollywood community not liking me.”

“It’s not the sort of stance you usually hear from stars in Hollywood,” notes Biography.

But is a stance you will hear more and more. Actor Margaret Colin, noted for her roles in “Independence Day” and “Three Men and a Baby,” who serves as Honorary Co-chair, was pictured by her side along with Serrin Foster after a White House press briefing on human cloning by President Bush.

“Patricia’s stands are unusual for Hollywood. In a town where people obsessively chase fame, where she worked for years to achieve it herself, Patricia Heaton said if her career ever dries up, she will walk away with no regrets,” notes Biography.
:: John 4/04/2003 12:17:00 PM [+] ::

:: Monday, March 31, 2003 ::

Reading Between the Lines of the "I'm Not Sorry" Chronicles

So I've been reading a bunch of the "I'm Not Sorry" stories over at ImNotSorry.Net, and I believe they are, for the most part, perfect evidence of what I have been arguing here from the beginning: women in our society are pressured into abortion by a variety of social and economic circumstances which seem insurmountable. If we really want to put an end to abortion (both legal and illegal), we have to work to eliminate these coercive social and economic pressures. Changes in the law and its application are insufficient!

Why are the women at "I'm Not Sorry" not sorry? Most did not believe they had workable and acceptable alternatives to abortion. Faced with the choice between being thrown out on the streets by her parents or getting an abortion, neither of which probably seemed appealing, a girl aborted her child. She's "not sorry" she was not rejected and evicted by her family. When people tell her the decision to abort was bad or wrong, she understandably thinks--and perhaps even says--something like "What the hell did you want me to do? Live alone and destitute on the streets with a baby born in a gutter?" The same could be said about most of these stories. Forced to choose between two horrors, these women chose one and are "not sorry" they did not have to live with the other. They resent the implication that being rejected and evicted, being beaten, etc., would have been a "good" choice or that they should be "forced" to endure those other alternatives (e.g. if abortion was not legal and/or accessible). So the website has a very defensive tone.

I don't believe that anything justifies killing an innocent human being, but these women's self-justifying stories--anti-apologetic apologia, if you will--are completely understandable. Women deserve better than abortion--and better than the abortion alternatives these women faced. I urge all my readers, if you have not already done so, to read Frederica Mathewes-Green's Real Choices. Join Feminists for Life of America, and contribute anything you can to their College Outreach Program! Learn more about the Nurturing Network and get involved! We can eliminate most, if not all, of the coercive factors that drive women to abortion. The first step is listening to women and finding out what those coercive factors are. The "I'm Not Sorry" crowd may not know it yet, but they're actually helping us to eliminate abortion.

Tune in Pro-Life Feminist Patricia Heaton

Feminists for Life's honorary chair, Patricia Heaton, is the subject of "Biography" on A&E on Tuesday, April 1, at 8 p.m. The show will discuss her career, her family and her role as FFL honorary chair.

Ms. Heaton, who currently appears on the television show "Everybody Loves Raymond", is a two-time Emmy winner for her role as Debra. She is also a New York Times bestselling author.

If you'd like to know more about this "Remarkable Pro-Life Woman" and hear her talk about Feminists for Life on national television, tune in!

Extremely Disturbing

Mike Epstein cited this article on his blog back in February, commenting, "Abortion's good for women, huh?" In case you missed it:

Tape: Blake Berates Wife Over Pregnancy, Recording Is Played During Hearing
By Linda Deutsch, Associated Press
Washington Post Thursday, February 27, 2003; Page C08

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26 -- A retired homicide detective testified today that actor Robert Blake told him in 1999 that he had impregnated a woman during a one-night stand and he wanted her abducted to undergo an abortion, and if that failed, to have her killed.

"He said, 'We're going to hire a doctor, we're going to abort her and if that doesn't work we're going to whack her,' " William Welch testified during a preliminary hearing to determine whether Blake must stand trial on charges of murdering his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley.

Bakley, 44, was shot as she sat in the couple's car near Blake's favorite restaurant, Vitello's, where they dined on May 4, 2001. Blake, 69, has claimed he went back into the restaurant to retrieve a gun he carried for protection and found Bakley shot when he returned to the car.

Welch, who became a private detective in 1985 after 21 years as a Los Angeles police officer, said the actor described the plan in October 1999 during a walk by the Los Angeles River.

Welch said he had done private detective work for Blake and had become friends with him by the time of the conversation.

"He looked me in the eye and I believed him," said Welch, who testified he refused to carry out the plot.

Earlier in the day, Blake sat grimly as prosecutors played a taped phone call in which the actor berated his wife for getting pregnant.

"You lied to me. You double-crossed me. You double-dealt me, and that's who you are," the former "Baretta" star told Bakley.

On the tape, Bakley sniffled and cried as she insisted her only concern was to stay with Blake.

"All I ever wanted was to be with you," she said.

Blake urged her to get an abortion, suggesting "a pill from France."

At the hearing, Blake's lawyer challenged a coroner's work on the autopsy. Deputy Medical Examiner Jeffrey Gutstadt testified that a bullet that went through Bakley's cheek was fired in a slightly upward direction.

In a long cross-examination, lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. suggested the autopsy never exactly established Bakley's position when she was shot, the height of her assailant, or which of the two shots that killed her came first.

The coroner testified that Bakley was killed by one bullet that went through her right cheek and into her brain and another bullet that entered through her right shoulder. He noted that there were no defensive wounds on Bakley's arms.

The prosecution's key witnesses are expected to be two former Hollywood stuntmen who say Blake tried to pay them to kill Bakley. When that failed, prosecutors say, the actor shot her himself.

Earle Caldwell, a former bodyguard, driver and handyman for Blake, is charged with conspiring with the actor. Blake faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

"How quickly a 'woman's right to choose' comes to serve a 'man's right to use.'" --Juli Loesch
:: John 3/31/2003 06:16:00 PM [+] ::

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