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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 19 July 2000

19 July 2000

19 July 2000 The British Pregnancy Advisory Service has announced that it arranged abortions in Britain for 2,460 Irish women last year. 12 of these were under 16, while 933 were aged between 20 and 24. The figures were released jointly by the BPAS and the Irish Family Planning Association, which claimed that many Irish women give false British addresses when seeking abortions in England. [The Times, 19 July] This digest reported in June that provisional figures released by the Office for National Statistics had indicated that in fact 6,214 women from the Irish Republic had abortions in England in 1999, or about 120 every week. [Irish Times, 7 June] Priests for Life, an American pro-life group, has begun an advertising campaign aimed at highlighting the importance of abortion as an issue for voters. The group, which has 6,000 priests as members, will spend between 250,000 and a million US dollars on the television and newspaper advertisements, starting with a full page in today's New York Times. The advertisements will not mention specific candidates, but will be targeted in areas where local Catholic politicians have voted in favour of abortion. Such politicians will be told to "stop being a scandal to the Gospel of Jesus Christ". Fr Frank Pavone, national director of the group, said: "Voters are free to elect whom they choose. But to be free, one has to be informed of the implications of one's choice, including the moral and spiritual implications." [The Nando Times, 19 July] Following on from the decision by the US Supreme Court to throw out Nebraska's partial-birth abortion ban, a federal judge has permanently barred Florida from enforcing its own ban signed by the governor last May. Meanwhile, Jim Ryan, the attorney general of Illinois, has regretfully acknowledged that his state's ban can no longer be defended. Nora O'Callaghan, director of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Respect Life office, commented that the wording of the Supreme Court judgement made any new legislation very problematic. "[It's] really difficult to figure out how an effective law can be passed," she said. [News-Journal online, 13 July; Pro-Life Infonet, 18 July] The results of a questionnaire have indicated that 49 percent of delegates to the Republican National Convention in the US could support a vice-presidential nominee who favours abortion. Tom Ridge, pro-abortion governor of Pennsylvania, is the favourite among the delegates, although Elizabeth Dole, who opposes abortion, came a close second in the poll. [The Dallas Morning News, 19 July] A former Canadian prime minister has said that he is both Catholic and pro-abortion. Joe Clark, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, disclosed that he is an active Catholic but also pro-choice and went on to say, "I, and thousands and thousands and thousands of other Catholics support a woman's right to choose." [CWNews, 18 July] Human Life International has released a pro-life library resource on compact disc. The library, which is the first of its kind, contains more than 10,000 documents totalling more than 100 million words, 2 and a half times more than the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The CD is the work of Dr Brian Clowes, Human Life International's research director. [HLI, 7 July] HLI's website can be accessed at

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