ADL Investigating Overtones of Anti-semitism in Abortion Law Dispute

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith is investigating allegations that a member of the “Right to Life” movement which is trying to get New York State’s liberal abortion laws repealed, has injected anti-Semitism into the controversy.

An ADL spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the allegations were brought to its attention by Lawrence Lader, chairman of the executive committee of the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Legislation, a group established before the New York abortion laws were liberalized and which is opposed to any legislative restrictions. Lader referred to the allegations in a broadcast Sunday on radio station WBAI.

The ADL spokesman said he could not identify the party who made the allegations or the person who made the alleged anti-Semitic remarks until the investigation is completed.

The controversy over New York State’s abortion laws generated more heat yesterday when Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller said he favored amending the law to shorten the period when such operations may be legally performed from 24 to 16 weeks of pregnancy. Supporters of the liberal abortion law claimed the Governor’s proposal would be tantamount to repeal.

Assemblyman Albert H. Blumenthal, deputy leader of the Democratic minority in the State Assembly, and author of abortion law liberalization several years ago, said he was “shocked and deeply disturbed to note the Governor’s efforts to destroy New York’s abortion law.” He said the Governor’s action “is nothing more than a political move to placate the forces who are seeking total repeal of the abortion law.”

Supporters of the abortion law announced a campaign to fight repeal. The liberalized law replaced one that permitted abortions only to save the life of a pregnant woman. Repeal advocates are seeking the reinstatement of the old law. The issue has stirred deep divisions within the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Repeal is strongly supported by the Roman Catholic Church and by Orthodox Jewish groups.

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