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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 9 May 2000

9 May 2000

9 May 2000 Advertisements for abortion providers could soon be appearing on British television. The Independent Television Commission has proposed abolishing or liberalising most of its controls on advertisers including the ban on suppliers of pregnancy testing services which also offer abortions or advice on abortions. The Commission feels that such a ban is no longer appropriate now that abortion is legal. The proposals will be subject to a consultation process and the final announcement will be made in October. [Daily Mail, 9th May] An Italian woman is asking a judge in Bologna to allow the implantation of three frozen embryos, produced by artificial insemination with her husband who wants them destroyed. The couple are going through divorce proceedings and there is a legal ambiguity as to whether the embryos should be considered as property or as individuals to be protected. The Bologna Pro-Life Movement has taken on the legal defence of the three embryos, pointing out the incongruity that if the woman were not married, or had not generated the embryos with her husband, then she could have gone to the civil registry, declared the embryos as her children, given them her surname and even named them individually. A bill addressing artificial insemination is being debated in the Italian parliament but in the meantime the legal void remains. [Zenit News Agency, 7th May] An abortion practitioner in California has been charged with the involuntary manslaughter of a young woman in 1996 who died during an abortion. He is also alleged to have killed at least six other women during abortions. Currently little public information is available on the record of abortionists, and many abortionists accused of injuring or killing patients suffer no repercussions because there are no reporting requirements. Vicki Conroy of Legal Action for Women claims to have helped thousands of women injured in so-called 'safe, legal abortions'. [Focus on the Family Citizen Link, 4th May, from Pro-Life Infonet] A senior consultant obstetrician in Ireland has denied that abortions are needed to save mothers' lives. Dr P.J.K. Conway, who favours an outright constitutional ban on abortion, told a committee looking into the issue that only two maternal deaths had been recorded out of 223,000 births in three Dublin maternity hospitals between 1980 and 1989 and that Ireland was the safest place in the world to have a baby. Between 1980 and 1989 the average annual maternal death rate throughout the Irish Republic was only 1.7 cases per 10,000 in tertiary maternity hospitals, and between 1990 and 1998 the figure improved to 0.8 per 10,000. These include all cases, including those unrelated to pregnancy. [The Irish Times, 5th May, from Pro-Life Infonet] The Science and Technology Commission of the European Council has requested that the European Parliament declare an immediate moratorium on genome patents. This follows a resolution passed by the European Parliament on 30th March calling for a patent issued to a Scottish research project into human cloning to be revoked. Also on 30th March the European Parliament had approved by 238 votes to 198 an amendment supporting "the rejection of research with human embryos that destroys the embryo". [Zenit News Agency, 30th March&5th May] Researchers working within the Human Genome Project have announced the completion of the decoding of chromosome 21 and have released 85% of the genetic code for human beings. They believe that they have made their announcement just days ahead of a similar claim by the private US company Celera Genomics. [The Guardian, 9th May] Mrs Ann Winterton, whose Medical Treatment (Prevention of Euthanasia) bill is currently at its report stage in the British House of Commons, has put down an early day motion (dated 8th May) noting with concern various recent developments towards euthanasia. The motion, signed by nine other members of parliament, "invites the Government to reconsider its position and honour its stated opposition to euthanasia" as well as to allow her bill adequate time to complete its stages. The full text of the motion can be found at the following address. (You may have to type it in manually.) http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=693

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