ABC Evening News for Wednesday, Jun 29, 1977
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(Studio) Supreme Court rules against death penalty for rape cases. Justices Burger and Rehnquist dissent. 6 men in Florida and Georgia are on death row for rape convictions. Specific Supreme Court case involves Georgia man Ehrlich A. Coker.
REPORTER: Harry Reasoner
(DC) Coker had 1 murder and 3 rape convictions already upon escape from Ware Cnty. Correctional Institution, minimum security prison near Waycross, Georgia. After leaving woods in area, he found home of Alan and Elnita Carver; details with regard to Coker's rape of woman noted. [Elnita CARVER - describes experience.] Coker was apprehended soon after and is now in Georgia State Prison at Reidsville in max. security, where his attys. say he should have been all along. Despite record, several women's groups, include NOW, filed briefs in his behalf. [Defense attorney David KENDALL - cites reasons for women' s groups briefs; notes request to strike death penalty and that it's rarely sought or given in rape cases.] Kendall says death penalty for rape could encourage rapist to kill victim. Court's decision doesn't answer question of death penalty for other nonhomicidal crimes.
REPORTER: Tim O'Brien
(Studio) In September, 1976, Congress passed Hyde amendment, providing federal funds for abortions only if mother's life endangered; New York federal judge struck down law as unconstitutional. Ruling is taken to Supreme Court and its decision given today.
REPORTER: Barbara Walters
(DC) Court orders reconsideration of lower court's ruling, in light of Supreme Court's recent decision that states aren't required to pay for nontherapeutic abortions; reasoning is that if states not so required, federal government isn't either. Court doesn't order federal funds cut, but Representative Henry Hyde says that will be effect. [HYDE - believes Medicaid funds use for abortions will soon stop.] [National Abortion Rights Action League spokesperson Carol WERNER - says funds will remain for while; cites legal action to take place.] Department of Health, Education and Welfare and courts continue to attempt definition of last year's Hyde amendment; meanwhile stricter one works through Congress
REPORTER: Tom Jarriel
(DC) House has passed bill eliminating all federal funds for abortion. Senator debate begins. Debate comments of Senators Packwood, Helms and Dominici noted. Helms' amendment to ban all such funds, except in cases of therapeutic abortions, is defeated; compromise measure then taken up. Battle not over, but age of abortion on demand is ending in some areas.
REPORTER: Frank Reynolds Artist: Freda Reiter
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