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Trial Judge Overturns Abortion Injunction

Aired August 5, 2002 - 13:48   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We have information now on that controversial abortion decision that we are waiting upon from a judge in Philadelphia. Our Bob Franken now live with the outcome of that. Bob, what did you find out?
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the judge is in Wilksbury, Pennsylvania where the original lawsuit was filed. The judge has -- quote -- "dissolved" the injunction that prevented Tanya Meyers from having an abortion. Bottom line is, she can now have the abortion that had been temporarily prevented last week by what is called a temporary restraining order. Another judge in the same court had put out what the lawyers call a TRO in order to give the various parties time to argue.

The judge was saying that if the decision was made that the abortion could have been stopped had it gone ahead at that time, it would have been -- quote -- irreparable harm. But now, a judge has heard the arguments. He has considered the briefs, and has dissolved the injunction. This was a case that had, of course, really drawn a lot of attention, people who are in favor of the right to an abortion were saying that even this temporary restraining order had gone against the Roe v. Wade decision, was what one of the interest groups in what they call the "pro-choice" movement, the people who favor the right to an abortion, had said that this was a travesty of justice.

Of course, the anti-abortion forces had rallied in favor of the judge. An organization that was in favor of fathers rights had weighed into the case. All of this occurred when the father of the child, a man by name of John Stachokus wanted his girlfriend not to have the abortion and had filed the lawsuit. The lawsuit had resulted in that temporary restraining order. That TRO has been overturned. The woman can now have her abortion -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So Bob, taking a look at -- I thought what was interesting here, it is the first time I have ever heard of something like this happening, the father pursuing this and getting media attention like this. What do you think it was that he was lacking, what could have won this for him, or was it really not even a strong enough argument?

FRANKEN: Well, according to the judge's ruling -- the judges, of course, are bound by the law of the land, which is the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade. What the temporary injunction was, was somebody saying, wait a minute, there might be some argument, there might be something which falls within Roe v. Wade which would give the father those rights. Therefore, let's hold off on allowing the abortion. Then came the regular arguments. At the same time, there were appeals throughout the state appeals court system, but there was no action taken on that. Meanwhile, the trial judge, back in Wilksbury, where the original suit was filed said, No, under Roe v. Wade, this injunction must be overturned.

PHILLIPS: Bob Franken, thank you.

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