telcom law & abortion post

Bharathi Jagadeesh bjag at
Tue Feb 13 12:23:14 EST 1996

I agree that women-in-bio is not the appropriate forum
for a discussion on abortion (unless it's somehow specifically
relevant to women in science). But one apparent reason for the
original post, which gave information about where to get 
an abortion in Boston, needs to be stated.

While we are debating the appropriateness of discussing this subject 
in this particular forum, the government of the US has made the 
transmission of the original post, and, presumably, any post that 
contains it in a follwup message, illegal, punishable by fines 
up to $5000, or imprisonment for up to 5 years. The law is 
being challenged in court. Information on efforts to fight 
the law can be found at the following sites:

I suspect (since the post was clearly misplaced in this group)
that it was posted as an act of civil disobedience.


Here's some information about the law and it's provisions about abortion:

On Thursday, February 8, 1996, Pres. Bill Clinton signed the
Telecommunicatios Act of 1996. The act is a major piece of
legislation that makes many changes in the way that the Federal
government regulates the telecommunications industries in the
US. But one provision in the bill is directly related to the 
original post about abortion. A part of the bill revises the
current laws so that Section 1462, Title 18 of the US code is 
amended to apply to transmission of information by computer.

S. 1462 of the US code reads, in part as follows:

Whoever brings into the United States, or any place subject 
to the jurisdiction thereof, or knowingly uses
any express company or other common carrier, for 
carriage in interstate or foreign commerce - 

     (c) any drug, medicine, article, or thing designed, adapted, 
         or intended for producing abortion, or for any indecent 
         or immoral use; or any written or printed card, letter, 
         circular, book, pamphlet, advertisement, or notice of 
         any kind giving information, directly or indirectly, 
         where, how, or of whom, or by what means any of such 
         mentioned articles, matters, or things may be obtained 
         or made; or Whoever knowingly takes from such express 
         company or other common carrier any matter or thing the 
         carriage of which is herein made unlawful - 

     Shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more 
     than five years, or both, for the first such offense and 
     shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not 
     more than ten years, or both, for each such offense thereafter. 


Bharathi Jagadeesh

Bharathi Jagadeesh/bjag at

Lab of Neuropsychology
Building 49, Room 1b80
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

(312) 496-5625 x270

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