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Abortion Rights Advocate Dies at 71

Dr. Irving Rust, a Bronx physician and the lead plaintiff in the US Supreme Court case Rust v. Sullivan that centered on abortion rights, died this weekend in a New York Hospital after battling pancreatic cancer. Dr. Rust, former medical director of HUB-the Bronx Planned Parenthood Clinic and longtime member of its staff, was a plaintiff in the Supreme Court case to affirm the right of doctors to counsel their patients about abortion. During the George Bush Administration, Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Louis Sullivan declared that the government could withdraw funds from U.S. clinics that provided abortion counseling, similar to George W. Bush’s “gag rule” for overseas family planning programs. Although the plaintiffs lost in the Supreme Court 5-4. President Clinton reversed the ban on abortion counseling on January 22, 1993, the 20th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. “Thank you, Mr. President,” Dr. Rust said. “I’m no longer gagged.”

Sources:

Women Leaders Online News Service Ð September 8, 2001