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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 12 July 2000

12 July 2000

12 July 2000 A new service launched yesterday allows British women to book initial abortion consultations over the internet. Marie Stopes International, which provides over 35,000 abortions a year in Britain, now provides an online booking service on its website through which women can make appointments at one of the charity's 21 pregnancy advice centres in England and Wales. The service is for private customers only, with consultations costing 50 pounds each. An abortion at one of the charity's seven abortion centres is priced between 300 and 700 pounds. John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, commented: "Their website welcomes visitors to a brave new world where obtaining an abortion is made easier than a visit to Tesco's to buy your weekly shopping. The tragedy of abortion is trivialised and reduced to the level of a simple customer choice. It is an insult to the hundreds of women hurt by abortion every day." [Associated Newspapers&SPUC Media Release, 11 July] A doctor who reported that colleagues routinely left elderly patients to die by issuing do not resuscitate orders has left the UK. Dr Rita Pal has moved to the United States to study law after claiming that she suffered abuse and received hate mail from fellow doctors. [The Mirror, 12 July] The Swiss Council of States has turned down both proposals put before it for a more liberal abortion law in Switzerland, and has referred the matter back to the Committee for Legal Affairs. The decision was made by 25 votes to 18 and has been seen as a response to the success of a pro-life 'federal popular initiative' submitted last November by the organisation Swiss Aid for Mother and Child. This initiative, intended as a counter-proposal to the liberalisation of abortion laws, was entitled "For Mother and Child: For the Protection of Unborn Life and Aid to Needy Mothers". It secured the signatures of 105,001 citizens, and the federal council now has a maximum of one year to review the initiative before making its recommendation to parliament. Both houses of parliament would then have to pass it before a referendum could be called. If passed, the proposal would amend the Swiss constitution to allow abortion only in cases of "acute physical danger to the mother's life that cannot be avoided by any other means". The amendment would also facilitate the adoption of children resulting from rape and require the cantons [Swiss administrative regions] to provide necessary financial assistance "should the mother find herself in serious difficulties as a result of her pregnancy". [Swiss News Publications, 12 July&Press Release, Swiss Aid for Mother and Child, 8 July, from Pro-Life E-News] A politician known to have pro-life views has been elected to lead the Canadian Alliance and so becomes leader of the official parliamentary opposition. Mr Stockwell Day received more than 60 percent of the votes in a runoff against Preston Manning. The Canadian Alliance was formed in March 2000 as a centre-right bloc capable of beating the ruling Liberal party. The next general election is expected to be called within a year. [Washington Post online, 8 July] Stockwell Day, a socially conservative ex-preacher, has been seen as the most pro-life of the Alliance leadership contenders. In June he said that he wanted to "see the legal protection of all innocent human life in Canada". The US House of Representatives has approved a resolution supporting the status of the Holy See as a permanent observer at the United Nations and "strongly objecting" to any attempts to expel it. The resolution, passed by 416 votes to one, commended the Holy See for "its strong commitment to fundamental human rights, including the protection of innocent human life both before and after birth". The vote is a rebuff to the 'See Change' campaign led by Catholics for a Free Choice. [Associated Press, FRC&C-FAM press releases, 11 July; from Pro-Life Infonet] The Canadian province of British Columbia has suspended its plan to make morning-after pills available directly from pharmacists. The programme was initially set to launch on 1 May and 800 pharmacists had received training on how to counsel women who requested the [possibly abortifacient] drug. However, lawyers warned of the risk of lawsuits against pharmacists should morning-after pills be prescribed and fail. The British Columbia Pharmacy Association still favours its plan, although is considering other ways of making so-called emergency contraception more easily available. [Rogers Media, from Pharmacy Connects, June 2000]

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