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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 23 November 2000

23 November 2000

23 November 2000 The Moldovan Orthodox Church has announced that it will excommunicate any member of parliament who votes to legalise abortion. The national parliament voted in favour of a draft law to legalise abortions earlier this month, and a second vote in favour would be a further step towards legalisation. In an open letter to parliamentarians, Metropolitan Vladimir said: "We will demand from the clergy not to give communion to those supporting abortions until they have changed their attitude to this crime." [EWTN News, 22 November ] A British government minister has confirmed that an order to reclassify the Levonelle-2 morning-after pill as an over-the-counter drug, available from pharmacists without a doctor's prescription, could be laid before parliament shortly. Yvette Cooper, minister for public health, wrote in a written House of Commons answer: "The application has now been considered by the Medicines Commission. If we decide to proceed, an Order will be laid shortly." [Hansard, 20 November] Having given his personal support to research on human embryos, including so-called therapeutic cloning, last week, the British prime minister yesterday refused to say whether he and his wife would have been prepared to donate their own spare embryos to research. When asked at a press conference the hypothetical question of whether he and Cherie Blair would have been happy to donate spare embryos generated as a result of fertility treatment, Tony Blair replied: "For the first time in all the press conferences I have done, I am completely stumped for an answer." He then described it as a "very personal question". Stephen Byers, trade and industry secretary, also refused to be drawn, but Lord Sainsbury, science minister, had no such qualms and said that he would have been willing to donate his embryos. [Daily Telegraph, 23 November] Abortion has become an important issue in the Canadian general election campaign, according to a national newspaper. The Campaign Life Coalition has reported an unprecedented interest in the issue during door to door canvassing, while the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League has claimed that many people have contacted their offices to express concern at the possible election of Stockwell Day's Alliance party. Mr Day is personally opposed to abortion, whereas Jean Chrétien, the incumbent Liberal party prime minister, holds a staunch pro-abortion position. The election takes place next Monday. [The Globe and Mail, 22 November ] The attorney general of the American state of Massachusetts has decided to ask a judge to clarify his injunction against the enforcement of a new abortion clinic buffer zone law [see digest for 21 November ], and if necessary to appeal against the ruling. The law had sought to restrict the activities of pro-life demonstrators and counsellors outside abortion facilities, but Judge Edward F Harrington said that the law was unfairly biased against the pro-lifers. Attorney General Thomas F Reilly said that he would be prepared to accept an amendment to the law in order to make it acceptable, and insisted that the law was meant to improve safety rather than to deny freedom of speech. [Boston Herald, 22 November ]

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