Morality

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  Policy Of U.S. Military Rejects Gay Woman's Ambition To ServeSeptember 21, 2006 10:11 Last month, Meg Sneed made a public vow to try to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard as part of the national "Right to Serve" campaign.

The campaign hopes to challenge the nation's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding gays in the military.

But when Sneed, who is openly gay, planned to enlist at Phoenix's U.S. Coast Guard recruiting office on Central Avenue on Wednesday morning, the lights were off, the door was locked and no one answered the phone.
  High Court Sets Rules For Abortion-Notification LawSeptember 21, 2006 10:04 Sparking debate on a divisive political issue, the Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday issued key rules designed to revive a 1995 law that prohibits minors from obtaining abortions without notifying a parent.

The state Supreme Court's refusal to issue the rules had left the law dormant for 11 years, to the consternation of advocacy groups seeking stricter limits on abortion.

Supporters of parental notification cheered the court Wednesday, saying it had cleared the way for state Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to seek to overturn a federal court order that bars the state from enforcing the law.

Parental notification "is the law of the state of Illinois. The court has made it clear," said DuPage County State's Atty. Joseph Birkett, who wrote a letter to the Supreme Court in June urging them to take up the issue. "The next step will be lifting the [federal court] injunction. ... I'm confident the attorney general will go to court."

But opponents of the law were quick to disagree, saying Madigan need not take action.
  Many U.S. Couples Seek Embryo ScreeningSeptember 21, 2006 09:38 Can we design people to better respect the planet?

Boy or girl? Almost half of U.S. fertility clinics that offer embryo screening say they allow couples to choose the sex of their child, the most extensive survey of the practice suggests.

Sex selection without any medical reason to warrant it was performed in about 9 percent of all embryo screenings last year, the survey found.

Another controversial procedure — helping parents conceive a child who could supply compatible cord blood to treat an older sibling with a grave illness — was offered by 23 percent of clinics, although only 1 percent of screenings were for that purpose in 2005.

For the most part, couples are screening embryos for the right reasons — to avoid passing on dreadful diseases, said Dr. William Gibbons, who runs a fertility clinic in Baton Rouge, La., and is president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, which assisted with the survey.
  Republican Governor Ryan Sentenced for CorruptionSeptember 07, 2006 11:19 George Ryan, the former Illinois governor nominated for a Nobel Prize after he commuted 157 death sentences over doubts about the state's criminal-justice system, was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison for public corruption.

Ryan, 72, said it was ``the saddest day of my life'' shortly before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer today pronounced sentence. On hearing the term length, Ryan sat calmly, staring at the defense table. The courtroom was packed with about 125 detractors, supporters and reporters, including another former Illinois governor, James Thompson, whose law firm defended Ryan.

``The people of Illinois expected more of me, and I let them down,'' Ryan, a Republican, said in his remarks to the judge at a hearing in Chicago. ``No matter what sentence you put on me, that failure will never leave me.''