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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 29 August 2000

29 August 2000

29 August 2000 A pro-abortion professor in the UK has said that all unborn children aborted after the 17th week of pregnancy should be anaesthetised during the procedure. Professor Vivette Glover of Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in London will be chairing a conference on the issue at the Royal Institution in November. She suggested that unborn babies do not feel pain before 13 weeks' gestation, but that after 26 weeks they probably do. She continued: "But between 17 and 26 it is increasingly possible that it starts to feel something and that abortions done in that period ought to use anaesthesia." John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said that Professor Glover's suggestions missed the point. He observed that the concern expressed by doctors and the public regarding foetal pain actually reflects "our sense of guilt at killing a fellow human being". Rather than calling for the anaesthetising of babies to be killed by abortion, or a lowering of the legal time-limit for abortions, Mr Smeaton contended that the only logical thing to do would be to "pass legislation which stops the current practice of abortion virtually on demand, and which gives mothers-to-be the practical support worthy of a civilised society". SPUC also pointed out that the anatomical structures necessary for the appreciation of pain are present in the unborn child before 10 weeks' development. [Daily Telegraph , BBC News Online&SPUC Media Release, 29 August] The German health minister has promised that there will be no move in his country to allow the production of human embryos for research without a broad consensus on the issue. Commenting on the British government's decision to support the cloning of human embryos for research, Andrea Fischer said: "There is no reason to make a knee-jerk reaction now based on the British decision." Hubert Hueppe, vice-president of the German parliament's bioethics commission, described so-called therapeutic cloning as "far worse" than reproductive cloning because "humans would be created with the sole purpose of being killed." Many scientists, politicians and church leaders, both Catholic and protestant, have spoken out against embryo research in Germany. Joerg-Dietrich Hoppe, head of country's association of medical doctors, suggested that his British counterparts were putting profit before morality. [National Post online, 23 August] A large March for Life will be held in Nicaragua next Thursday (31 August) led by Arnoldo Aleman, the country's president, and his pregnant wife. Fr Matthew Habiger, president of Human Life International, said that Nicaragua was becoming "a place of miracles in the defence of life." The year started with a debate over proposals to liberalise abortion laws in Nicaragua, but the president of the national assembly has said that the majority of legislators are against any such move and now consideration is being given to proposals which would ban all abortions. [EWTN News, 28 August] A survey of teenagers in Taiwan has indicated that 87 percent believe abortion is equivalent to murder, although at the same time 54 percent said that they would consider having an abortion. The survey, conducted by the Eastern Multimedia Marketing Survey Centre, also showed that 27 percent knew of friends who had had an abortion. [Tapei Times, 27 August]

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