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Nation in brief: Abortion procedure banned

The Louisiana Legislature approved a ban on a late-term abortion procedure Tuesday, the first state to do so since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal ban earlier this year.

The House voted unanimously to approve a measure that would allow the procedure that anti-abortion activists call “partial birth” abortions only when failure to perform it would endanger the mother’s life.

The procedure would be a crime in all other cases, including situations where the pregnancy is expected to cause health problems for the mother.

The measure goes to Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who describes herself as anti-abortion but has not indicated whether she plans to sign the bill.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Gary Beard, would create fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 and jail terms of one to 10 years for doctors who perform the surgery. The measure matches the federal ban that President Bush signed into law in 2003, upheld in April by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Newark, N.J.

Gay student receives apology

The city schools superintendent apologized to a gay student Tuesday for having staffers black out a picture of the student kissing his boyfriend from the high school yearbook, calling the incident “a homophobic moment.”

Superintendent Marion A. Bolden said she spoke with senior Andre Jackson, 18, a day after she issued him a written apology that said she regretted the decision to censor his personal page in the East Side High School yearbook.

“We have to own up to the fact that it was a homophobic moment,” she said. “That’s what everybody’s afraid to say. There are sensitivity issues we need to talk about as a result of this.”

Jackson on Monday had refused to accept Bolden’s written apology, saying he wanted her to apologize publicly.


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