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COURT GETS FLURRY OF MOTIONS AS ABORTION-SUIT TRIAL NEARS

A flurry of motions and counter-motions has hit U.S. District Court as the April 6 trial date approaches for litigation over Utah's abortion law.

State lawyers filed a motion Monday to throw out a long list of affidavits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. These affidavits attack the state's abortion law. The motion says most of the affidavits are from witnesses not properly admitted in the case, explaining that U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene ruled against more witnesses on Jan. 6, except for limited situations of women seeking abortions presently.Among the new affidavits filed Monday was one from a noted sex-abuse researcher, Diana E.H. Russell of Berkeley, Calif.

She blasted the state law, saying that rape and incest exceptions are not adequate. The victim of incest often will not admit who the perpetrator is.

The law requires reporting within 20 weeks (of rape and incest) and allows the abortion only if the incident is first reported to police, she said. She said wives are not likely to report their husbands to police and that her studies show that only 9.5 percent of non-marital rapes that are disclosed to an interviewer are ever reported to police.

Also, clergy and counselors face no "plausible threat" of prosecution under Utah's abortion law for advising women about abortion, says Mary Anne Wood, a private lawyer seeking dismissal of a legal challenge to the statute.