Archive for Saturday, March 31, 2001

Nation Briefs

March 31, 2001


Judge overturns abortion law

A federal judge on Friday struck down part of an Indiana law requiring women to undergo in-person counseling a day before having an abortion.

U.S. District Judge David Hamilton ruled that not letting women obtain information about alternatives to abortion other than in person unlawfully impeded their constitutional right to end a pregnancy.

Meeting with a physician or nurse 18 hours beforehand for the information meant it took two trips to a clinic to get the procedure done, he wrote.

The state had argued that personal contact a day before the procedure was important to fostering communication between women and their abortion providers.

New York
Prison guard crushes kittens

A Sing Sing prison officer who allegedly killed five kittens in a trash compactor has been charged with cruelty to animals. The kittens' mother, Midnight, escaped by running away through the prison yard.

Sgt. Ronald Hunlock, who was charged Thursday, had found a box of kittens in an inmate's cell during a search March 11, Department of Correctional Services officials said. Hunlock allegedly told the inmate to drop the kittens in a trash compactor, but the inmate refused. Hunlock then dumped them in and turned the machine on, killing the kittens, officials said.

Hunlock, who has worked five years at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, N.Y., was arrested Thursday and was to be suspended from his job without pay.

'Baby Jumpers' recalled

Cosco Inc. said Friday that it is recalling about 170,000 "Bungee Baby Jumpers" because a clasp on the device can detach, allowing a child to fall. The jumpers allow babies to bounce while supported in a seat suspended from a doorway by an elastic bungee cord.

Columbus-based Cosco and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have received 82 reports of clasps detaching and children falling. The company said 15 children have received minor injuries.

Mad cow disease delayed

Researchers were able to delay the onset of a form of mad cow disease by blocking a protein that usually assists the immune system.

In the end, scrapie, the form of the disease that affects sheep and is not transmittable to humans, did develop in the test mice, but the work may point the way for further research into battling the illness. The findings are reported in the April issue of the journal Nature Medicine.

The course of mad cow diseases is not fully understood, but victims appear to become infected by eating food contaminated with a protein called a prion, which then reproduces in the lymph system before moving into the brain.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans has been linked directly to eating meat from cattle infected with mad cow disease.

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