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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 3 November 2000

3 November 2000

3 November 2000 As the morning-after pill went on sale in Italy yesterday, the president of the Italian bishops' conference reaffirmed the Church's position that pharmacists should refuse to stock the abortifacient drug. Cardinal Camillo Ruini also said that the drug should be covered by the country's abortion law which includes a clause allowing for conscientious objection. The BBC reported that "a row has broken out in Italy between the Roman Catholic Church and the government" and that the country's health minister had said that the Church's stance was puzzling because other mechanical and chemical birth control devices which also worked in an abortifacient way had been on sale in Italy for years. Under Italian law, pharmacists must provide all government-approved drugs. [EWTN News and BBC News online , 2 November] A British pro-life group has stressed that next Tuesday's presidential election in the United States could have huge implications for the rights of unborn children worldwide. Peter Smith, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children's chief lobbyist at the United Nations, said: "Reliable sources have suggested that, if Governor George W Bush is elected ... he would definitely appoint a pro-life ambassador to the UN. He might also appoint a pro-life representative at ambassadorial level to address social issues. If a pro-life secretary of state is appointed by Bush, then the US delegation would be completely pro-life ... if Gore becomes president, our position at the UN will be even worse than under the Clinton administration." Mr Smith observed that, as the international policies of many other countries are affected by the American stance, "world opinion regarding abortion ... could quite literally change with the election of the next US president." [SPUC media release, 3 November ] A new fertility treatment which has been presented as a pro-life and more effective alternative to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) has become available in the UK. 11 of the 32 couples who entered the Life fertility programme last year have so far become pregnant, and this 35 percent success rate compares favourably with the 16 percent success rate of IVF. Two of the 11 successful couples had previously undergone failed IVF treatment. The Life programme was pioneered by Dr Thomas Hilgers, an American gynaecologist and founder of the Pope Paul VI institute in Nebraska. Rather than bypassing problems which lead to infertility, the programme tackles these problems by monitoring a woman's fertility cycle by means of blood tests and ultrasound scans. [Catholic Herald, 3 November] In Canada, the governing board of the Ontario Medical Association has passed a resolution in favour of making the morning-after pill available over-the-counter without a doctor's prescription. The Canadian province of British Columbia has already decided to reclassify the drug, with over-the-counter sales due to commence on 1 December. [National Post, 2 November; from Pro-Life E-News] The Catholic bishop of Rochester, New York state, has expressed his regret that pro-abortion Senate contender Hillary Clinton was allowed to speak in a Catholic church last Sunday [as reported in yesterday's digest ]. Bishop Matthew H Clark described it as a "clear and serious violation of diocesan policy" and said: "I regret that this event took place and apologise for any confusion that might have resulted." [Catholic News Service, 2 November] The president of Life Decisions International has criticised the support given in the United States to UNICEF, the pro-abortion United Nations children's fund, by CVS [a company which runs pharmacies] and Mastercard. Douglas R Scott highlighted the fact that Mastercard had been donating 25 cents to UNICEF for every purchase over $35 made in a CVS pharmacy as part of the 'Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF' campaign. He said that UNICEF was involved with the provision of abortifacient forms of birth control and abortion advocacy. [LDI, from Pro-Life E-News, 2 November]

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