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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 8 June 2000

8 June 2000

8 June 2000 A record number of women from the Irish Republic had abortions in Britain last year. The provisional figures released by the Office for National Statistics in England indicated that 6,214 women from the Republic of Ireland had abortions in 1999, compared with 5,891 in 1998. This equates to nearly 120 every week. The Pro-Life Campaign blamed the rise on the 1995 Information Act which made it legal for British abortion clinics to advertise in the Irish media and for counsellors to provide the addresses of such clinics. [Irish Times, 7 June; from Pro-Life E-News] A letter signed by 23 United States congressmen and addressed to all 188 United Nations member states has expressed "great alarm" at the fact that their country is calling for increased abortions, and mandatory training to perform them, at the UN conference currently reviewing progress since the Beijing Women's Conference five years ago. [Associated Press, 7 June; from Pro-Life Infonet] Pope John Paul II spoke about the sanctity of life in his general audience yesterday, heard by a crowd of 40,000 pilgrims in St Peter's Square. Meditating on the famous phrase of St.Irenaeus that "the glory of God is a living human being", the pope also chose to quote psalm 139 from the Bible (" knit me together in my mother's womb ... your eyes beheld my unformed substance...") and concluded, "Thus the Christian truth about life reaches its apex. The dignity of life is not tied only to its origins, to its coming from God, but also to its end, to its destiny of communion with God in the knowledge of love of him." [Zenith news agency, Vatican City, 7 June] A Catholic bishop in Canada has criticised pro-life campaigners for objecting to the decision of the country's bishops' conference to support a pro-abortion women's march. Bishop John Michael of London, Ontario, said, "If the pro-life people had their way, we would all be living in a ghetto, and crying about how unclean the rest of the world is." The stated aim of the March for Women 2000 was an end to violence and intimidation against women, but their demands included publicly funded abortions across Canada. Proposals to include pro-life representatives in the march were rejected. Some bishops did reduce funding once the pro-abortion element in the marchers' demands became clear, while others took issue with the pro-life lobby. [EWTN News, 7 June] A girl of 12 who was given financial assistance by the Catholic archdiocese of Glasgow to prevent her from having an abortion has been ordered by a court to give the child up for adoption. A spokesman for Cardinal Thomas Winning, archbishop of Glasgow, commented, "The most important thing from the Church's point of view is to safeguard life, however the child is brought up." [Daily Telegraph, 8 June] It has been claimed that nearly two thirds of the clinics meant to provide free and legal abortions in South Africa are not functioning because the doctors and nurses either have moral objections, or are afraid of harassment from the community. The claim was made during the parliamentary hearings on South Africa's abortion laws, which also heard calls to introduce mobile abortion services and 'educate' communities about abortion so that they became supportive. Anti-abortion protesters have been demonstrating outside the parliament building. [SAPA, 6 June]

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