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RU-486 kills again

  • A seventh woman has died from complications related to the abortion pill RU-486. Holly Patterson, 18, of Livermore, California, died on September 17 after a local Planned Parenthood clinic gave her the abortifacient one week earlier. Patterson went into septic shock after fragments of her unborn child were left in her uterus. Prolifers were outraged. The Christian Medical Association, Concerned Women for America, and other groups petitioned the Food and Drug Administration in August 2002 to recall the drug over concerns about the drug's safety and what they call a politically tainted approval process. The FDA has yet to act on the petition. "The RU-486 drug regimen's unconscionable laxity has put American women and teenagers at dire risk," said Gene Rudd, associate executive director of the CMA. In November, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, called on the FDA to suspend its approval of the "abortion pill."
Baylor update

  • In September, Baylor University President Robert Sloan survived calls for his resignation by the Faculty Senate and several members of the Board of Regents. Sloan's Baylor 2012 plan calls for the Waco, Texas-based institution to become a major Christian research university. The board voted 31-4 on September 12 to reaffirm Sloan's leadership.

    Later that month, 29 descendants of Baylor trustee J.M. Dawson (who advocated teaching evolution) sent Sloan an open letter calling for the removal of Francis Beckwith, who heads the J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies. The signatories say Beckwith is unqualified to hold the post because he believes Intelligent Design theory—an alternative to evolution—can also be taught in public schools.

    Members of the Dawson family, who have no official relationship with the Dawson Institute, say they are troubled by Beckwith's affiliation with the Discovery Institute. Discovery, which awarded Beckwith a $7,000 fellowship, is a Seattle think tank that studies Intelligent Design.

    In a statement, Beckwith said, "It is inappropriate, and not in the spirit of J. M. Dawson's philosophy, for his descendants or any members of the Baylor community to blacklist faculty because they received funding, however modest, from think-tanks and foundations with which other members of the academic community disagree."

    Baylor officials, citing academic freedom, say Beckwith is not going anywhere.

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December 2003

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