By continuing to browse our site, you are consenting to the use of cookies. Click here for more information on the cookies we use.


Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 10 October 2000

10 October 2000

10 October 2000 The British government has announced plans to promote virginity among adolescents as part of its programme to reduce teenage pregnancies. The two million pound advertising campaign will include slogans such as "Sex - are you thinking about it enough?" John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, dubbed the policy as "a wolf in sheep's clothing". He said: "Of course, the promotion of abstinence among younger teenagers is in itself a good thing, because evidence indicates that it is an effective way of preventing teenage pregnancies and reducing the number of abortions." However, he went on to observe that "the promotion of virginity only constitutes a front for a more sinister initiative" which entails spending 60 million pounds on measures including promotion of the morning-after pill and increasing access to abortion. [SPUC media release , 10 October] The Australian genetics company which had reportedly mixed human and pig cells using the nuclear cell replacement technique [see yesterday's digest ] has announced that it will withdraw its European application to patent the technology and amend those patents pending in the United States. The patents had been submitted jointly by Stem Cell Sciences of Australia and Biotransplant of the United States. Peter Mountford, chief executive officer of Stem Cell Sciences, acknowledged concerns that the patents did not exclude the possibility of human reproductive cloning, and agreed that the embryo created using a pig's ovum and human DNA could "in the extreme theoretical sense" have been successfully implanted inside a woman and developed into a human baby. He insisted that his company had only ever intended to use the technology to clone animals. [Zenit news agency, 9 October] A senior transplant surgeon in the UK has said that the law should be changed to allow brain dead patients to be kept alive using artificial respiration for the purpose of organ donation. Jetmund Engeset, of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said: "People are incredibly selfish and should think about their fellow human beings." [The Times, 9 October] The Japanese cabinet has proposed new, more vigorous sanctions against reproductive human cloning. Responding to criticism earlier this year that its proposed measures against the implantation of human clones inside women were too lenient, the cabinet has approved a bill which would impose prison sentences of up to 10 years and fines of up to 10 million yen on offenders. The sanctions only apply to so-called reproductive cloning, while separate guidelines allowing research into embryos cloned in the test-tube will now be drawn up. [Reuters, 6 October] The head of statistics at Russia's academy of sciences has warned that her country's birth rate has fallen to critical levels. Noting that abortion still remained the primary form of birth control in Russia, Olga Frolova observed that the birth-rate has fallen to 1.3 children per woman of childbearing age and said, "We are facing a serious decrease of the population rate." There are more than two million abortions carried out every year in Russia, while only 1.2 million children are born. The total population is expected to drop by 700,000 in 2001. [AFP, 5 October; from Pro-Life E-News] The Catholic bishops of Germany have affirmed their commitment to expanding the services offered to pregnant women by Catholic consultation centres, after the centres stopped the practice of issuing women with legal certificates used to obtain abortions. The centres had to issue the certificates in order to receive state funding, but last year Pope John Paul II said that the centres should not participate in the scheme. Bishop Karl Lehmann of Mainz, presenting the conclusions of a bishops' conference meeting, said that the centres would provide new services to women in crisis pregnancies such as financial help and assistance in finding a home. They would also launch an advertising campaign to let women know about the services. [EWTN News, 6 October] The issue of abortion was raised in the public debate last week between Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman, the Republican and Democrat vice-presidential candidates in next month's election. Mr Cheney reaffirmed his wish to see the number of abortions reduced and adoption promoted as an alternative, whereas Senator Lieberman stated his support for the RU-486 abortion pill and "a woman's right to choose" abortion. [Pro-Life Infonet, 6 October]

Be the first to comment!

Share this article