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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 13 June 2000

13 June 2000

13 June 2000 A columnist in the Daily Express newspaper in Britain has praised the Family Planning Association's new booklet on abortion for "taking the hysteria out of the debate, coolly calling the 'unborn child' a foetus". Jenni Murray claimed that "anti-abortionists had had free access to young minds for too long". [Daily Express, 13 June] The Catholic archbishop of Chicago has said that the Catholic Church would rather close its hospitals than accept new laws requiring them to offer abortions. Cardinal Francis George, who was addressing a committee meeting at the American Medical Association's annual convention, said that "effectively, the AMA is being asked to help abolish Catholic hospitals". The committee was considering whether to refer to the convention's full house of delegates a proposal made by a group of California doctors to require hospitals to offer "a full range of reproductive services". These would include sterilisations and birth control. If adopted as AMA policy, Catholic hospitals may lose federal funding if they continue to refuse to offer such services. The proposal does not explicitly mention abortion, but the Catholic Health Association has warned that this is entailed by the language used. [Chicago Tribune, 12 June] In an address to the new French ambassador to the Vatican, Pope John Paul II has stressed "the right to existence and to respect for life". He said that the elderly should be able to live in decent conditions, and "benefit from treatments and the necessary assistance until the end of their natural existence". [Zenit news agency, Vatican City, 12 June] A study reported in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse has claimed that women who have abortions are five times more likely to turn to drug abuse than women who carry to term. Dr David Reardon and Dr Philip Ney had analysed data on 700 women aged 24 to 44, and concluded that each year in the United States alone there are at least 150,000 new cases of abortion-related substance abuse. The same report also referred to a study carried out in Finland which suggested that abortion can lead to self-destructive or suicidal tendencies. It claimed that women who have abortions are then six times more likely to commit suicide and four times more likely to die in an accident. [Cincinnati Right to Life newsletter, June/July 2000] Stockwell Day, one of the main contenders for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance [Canada's opposition political party], said last week that he wanted to "see the legal protection of all innocent human life in Canada". The top three candidates for the job have all stated that they personally oppose abortion. Canadian pro-abortionists have warned that they will vigorously oppose any moves to bring abortion back onto the political agenda. Marilyn Wilson, executive director of the Canadian Abortion Rights League, said: "Now that reproductive rights are under threat again, I think you'll see us coming out very, very strongly. We'll be ready." [Times Colonist, 10 June; from Pro-Life E-News] A feature in an American newspaper has described how China is imposing its one-child family policy in occupied Tibet, entailing forced abortions and sterilisations. Cheryl Daen also claimed that the procedures are being performed without proper facilities and in unhygienic conditions. She added that abortion is deeply offensive to devout Buddhists, who revere all life forms and especially human life. [The Daily Aztec, San Diego State University, 12 June; on Excite news]

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