A JUDGE in Northern California has given ten antiabortion protestors unique sentences. He has ordered each of them to take care of a homeless child for three weeks.
The protestors were arrested in early December while blocking an entrance to an abortion clinic in Fremont, California, a small city south-east of San Francisco.
Fremont Judge Joseph Jay said he couldn't think of a better punishment than having them care for needy children.
Ron Maxson, a northern Californian Right to Life leader, praised the judge. "instead of treating them as criminals", he said, "he gave them the opportunity to help children."
However, it still remains unclear how the sentencing would be implemented. Court and social service agencies have yet to figure out how to place a homeless child in a home for just three weeks and stick by existing child-care regulations. The rules generally demand longer placement periods for children in private homes.
"Child-related community service is a great idea," said one of the sentenced protestors, "but I'm not sure this particular idea will work very well for the children".