new york
‘Legal personhood’ sought for chimps

A U.S. animal rights group on Monday filed what it said is the first lawsuit seeking to establish the “legal personhood” of chimpanzees.

The nonprofit Nonhuman Rights Project asked a New York state court to declare Tommy, a 26-year-old chimp, “a cognitively complex autonomous legal person with the fundamental legal right not to be imprisoned.”

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Tommy’s “detention” in a “small, dank, cement cage in a cavernous dark shed” in central New York is unlawful and demands his immediate release to a primate sanctuary.

Tommy’s owners, Patrick and Diane Lavery, kept the chimp at a used trailer lot in Gloversville, about 50 miles northwest of Albany, the group said.

Besides Tommy, the lawsuit also represents three other chimps: Kiko, a 26-year-old chimp living on a private property in Niagara Falls, and Hercules and Leo, two young male chimps used in research at Stony Brook University on Long Island, the group said.

— Reuters

ACLU sues bishops
over hospital ethics

The American Civil Liberties Union is taking aim at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and its ethical guidelines for Catholic hospitals.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Friday in federal court in Michigan, accusing the bishops of being negligent for barring certain treatments or the mention of the treatments such as abortion.

The lawsuit was filed in the case of a pregnant woman, Tamesha Means, whose life was at risk from premature labor. The ACLU says Mercy Health Muskegon hospital didn’t tell Means she should consider terminating her pregnancy because the bishops’ guidelines barred mention of abortion.

— From news services

Ccourt upholds ban on political ads: The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a federal ban on political advertising on public television and radio stations Monday, rejecting an argument that it unconstitutionally violated the First Amendment. The 8-3 vote involved Minority Television Project Inc., which operated KMTP-TV.

— From news services