Briefs

Contractors refuse to build abortion clinic

Prolife groups are using a new strategy to stop construction of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Austin, Texas. Six weeks after construction began, the project's general contractor pulled out in November when it could find no subcontractors willing to provide concrete, plumbing, and other work.

Local concrete contractor Chris Danze organized the boycott. Danze said every concrete supplier within 60 miles of Austin has agreed not to supply materials. Danze sent a letter to 750 executives of construction-related companies asking them not to participate. Calls and more letters followed, urging companies not to participate in the construction of the facility, which was scheduled to open in 2004 to provide abortions and other services.

Texas Right to Life got involved by thanking companies for pulling out and offering to share their names with the prolife community. Then churches said they would not work with any contractor who provided construction services for Planned Parenthood.

"It's brilliant in the sense that most of these guys do large commercial jobs, and a lot of them do churches,'' David Bereit, director of Bryan-based Coalition for Life, told reporters. "There are a lot more churches than abortion clinics in Austin."

Turkmenistan tightens religion law

Turkmenistan is making life miserable for religious minorities. On November 10 last year, the government in the former Soviet Central Asian state passed a religion law even more restrictive than the one in place since 1991. All religious groups must be registered, but registration is now restricted to those with at least 500 adult members. This represents an insurmountable obstacle to all but Sunni Muslims and the ...

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