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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 5 June 2000

5 June 2000

5 June 2000 The co-creator of Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep, has supported research into so-called therapeutic cloning of humans and has criticised the more cautious approach of the Prince of Wales. Professor Ian Wilmut, addressing a Royal Society of Edinburgh conference, said, "We recognise this is a deeply offensive idea to some people. But if this is the only way of producing therapy for some of these very unpleasant diseases, I would be willing, in fact enthusiastic, to take part in producing new cells." [The Herald, 31 May] A number of anti-abortion groups made submissions to the Oireachtas committee in Ireland last week. Mr Justin Barrett, legal advisor to Youth Defence, was one of those who urged the committee looking into the abortion issue that only the first of the seven options in the Green Paper on abortion should be accepted, that is a total ban. He and others made the point that this would not necessarily mean that women who needed medical treatment necessitating the termination of their pregnancy would be denied it. The death of the unborn child would then be an unfortunate effect of the treatment, and not its intention. The need was stressed for legal clarification on this point. [Irish Times, 1 June; from Pro-Life E-News] Pro-life activists in Calgary, Canada, have had a court injunction banning them from protesting outside an abortion clinic extended and tightened. Six temporary injunctions have been in place since 1991, but last Thursday the court consolidated these individual injunctions into one single comprehensive order and furthermore forbade the use of words such as killing or murder on protest signs. From now on no more than four protesters will be allowed at each of the three sites around the Kensington Abortion Clinic, 50 metres away from the clinic itself, and their signs will be censored. Michael O'Malley, leader of the protests, described the situation as "ridiculous". [Calgary Herald, 2 June; from Pro-Life E-News] An alternative pregnancy crisis centre has opened in Harare, Zimbabwe, and organisers hope it will be the first phase in a national programme. Olivia Calder, co-ordinator of the pro-life initiative, said that women can come for counselling "in order to decide on the alternatives they have to an abortion or the dumping of their babies". [The Zimbabwe Standard, 4 June] Rick Lazio, Republican opponent of Hillary Clinton for the US Senate in New York, has said that he would vote against repealing Roe vs Wade (the ruling which gives American women a constitutional right to abortion). Mrs Clinton, the Democratic party candidate, has been trying to present Lazio as a 'threat' to women's abortion rights. [Newsday, 4 June; from Pro-Life Infonet] The Catholic archbishop of Ottawa has attacked Canada's prime minister, Jean Chretien, for supporting abortion. Archbishop Marcel Gervais criticised Mr Chretien for his speech at the Liberal party's convention in March when he "almost seemed to brag that one of the great accomplishments of the Liberal party is the right of women to choose." The archbishop described the Liberal party's policy as "a lamentable state of affairs" and affirmed that "abortion is never a justified response" to becoming pregnant under trying circumstances. [The Ottawa Citizen, 1 June; from Pro-Life E-News] An opinion poll carried out in the United States between 19 and 23 May has indicated that 66 percent of Americans are against the use of federally controlled drugs for the purpose of assisted suicide or euthanasia, with 29 percent in favour. Of the 64 percent who view the issue as very or somewhat important, 65 percent would be more likely to vote for candidates who opposed euthanasia compared with 32 percent who would be the other way inclined. [National Right to Life, Wirthlin Worldwide, 30 May; from Pro-Life Infonet]

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