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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 15 May 2000

15 May 2000

15 May 2000 Cardinal Thomas Winning, archbishop of Glasgow, has written a strongly worded letter to Professor Liam Donaldson, Britain's chief medical officer, whose committee is soon to report on the issue of human cloning. In his capacity as chairman of the British and Irish Catholic bishops' joint committee on bioethical issues, the cardinal condemned all human cloning and the way in which commercial considerations appear to be influencing government deliberations. He wrote : "It is a gross violation of rights to breed embryos for the sole purpose of taking their cells, thus ending their lives. Far from being morally superior to 'reproductive' cloning, where the aim is to bring the clone to birth, spare-part cloning is an even greater aberration." [Catholic Herald, 12th May] Pope John Paul II has included the unborn among the many victims of the last century of the second millennium during his homily at a Mass in Fatima, Portugal. He was alluding to the 'second secret' of Fatima about the wars and persecutions of the twentieth century as he presided at the beatification Mass for Jacinta and Francisco, two of the three visionaries of Fatima in 1917. [Zenit News Agency, 14th May] A Florida state law requiring doctors to notify the parents of children under 18 years of age when they request an abortion has been overturned. The law, which was passed last year but which has never been enforced, was rejected by the judge in Tallahassee because it violated girls' right to privacy. The state has lodged an appeal. [The Tampa Tribune, 13th May] The early day motion put down by Mrs Ann Winterton in the British House of Commons last week, which noted recent developments towards euthanasia with concern and called on the government to give her Medical Treatment (Prevention of Euthanasia) Bill sufficient time to complete its parliamentary stages, has now received the signatures of 35 other MPs. There was no time to resume her bill's report stage last Friday and so it has been deferred again until Friday 9th June, when it will again be third on the agenda. [Private source] [Recipients of our daily news digest in the U.K. might be interested to know that each week we prepare a brief summary of national television or radio programmes which touch upon life issues in the week ahead. In the past this has predominantly been an internal exercise, but anyone wishing to receive it by e-mail would be most welcome. To subscribe, please just drop us a note to]

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