Amendment to Bankruptcy Bill Would Close Loophole for Anti-Choice Extremists

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is expected to propose an amendment next week to bankruptcy legislation which would bar anti-abortion extremists from escaping legal judgments by declaring bankruptcy. According to the Los Angeles Times, Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue, openly stated in 1998 that he was declaring bankruptcy in order to avoid paying the court fines he was levied as a result of abortion clinic protests that violated the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). The FACE Act prohibits not only violence against abortion providers, clinic staff, patients, and volunteers, but also threats of violence. Other anti-abortion extremists have been known to rid themselves of personal assets prior to staging illegal protests, as well.

“I will do my best to hold this bill up in every way until this amendment is supported,” Schumer has said, hinting at the possibility of a filibuster. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) also has shown support for the amendment, saying, “I don’t think there ought to be [debt forgiveness] if someone has blocked an abortion clinic and caused damage, injury, perhaps even fatalities as a result of that blocking,” Specter said, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The bankruptcy legislation enables wealthier citizens to shelter personal assets when filing for bankruptcy, while making it harder for lower-income, elderly, and sick Americans to get rid of their debt, according to the San Francisco Gate. Another amendment is expected from Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) that would raise the minimum wage over two years to $7.25.

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Los Angeles Times 2/28/05; New York Times 3/4/05; San Francisco Gate 3/3/05; Feminist Daily News Wire 11/15/02

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