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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 11 October 2000

11 October 2000

11 October 2000 80 percent of neuroscientists who responded to a British national newspaper survey said that unborn babies aborted after 11 weeks' gestation should receive pain relief during the procedure. The Daily Telegraph approached 100 neuroscientists, of whom 21 replied. The paper said that this modest response illustrated the emotive nature of the issue. A number of respondents were agreed that unborn babies probably could not experience pain until 22 to 24 weeks, although there was a concern to err on the side of caution. Professor Susan Greenfield of Oxford University said: "Consciousness grows as the brain grows. As soon as something has a nervous system, however primitive, we have to tread more cautiously." The British All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group has concluded that all the structures necessary to appreciate pain are "present and functional before the 10th week of intrauterine life". [Daily Telegraph, 11 October] A religious cult which believes that humans were cloned from aliens and views cloning as the key to eternal life has announced plans to start work this month on cloning a girl who died at 10 months old. Her parents have paid the Raelian cult 300,000 pounds in order to clone their daughter. Dr Brigitte Boisselier, Raelian scientific director, claimed that the cult now has 50,000 members in 85 countries. Most live in Quebec, Canada. The cult's laboratory is reported to be in a third world country where there are no legal restrictions on human cloning, and a number of experts have taken the group's intentions seriously. Graham Baldwin, director of Catalyst, a British charity which supports cult victims, said that the Raelians were "very dangerous" and possessed huge financial assets. [Daily Express, 11 October] The Scottish health minister has opened a new family planning clinic in Glasgow which houses a post-abortion counselling unit. The opening of Sandyford Clinic by Susan Deacon has been described as "a dramatic shift in the government's stance on post abortion trauma" because, until now, ministers and many within the medical profession had been reluctant even to acknowledge the existence of the condition. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the Rachel Ministry, an organisation which provides post-abortion counselling, has launched an advertising campaign on the New York underground railway. [Scottish Catholic Observer, 6 October; LifeSite Daily News, 6 October] A 46 year-old woman who has had eight unsuccessful attempts at in vitro fertilisation, involving [the attempted implantation of] 24 embryos, is hoping to use the new Human Rights Act to challenge a ban on the implantation of more than three embryos at once. Mohamed Taranissu, the woman's doctor and head of a private fertility clinic in London, is funding the action in the High Court against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, claiming that their rule breaches the right to found a family in article 12 of the Human Rights Act. Helen Blackith, aged 39 and another of Dr Taranissu's patients, is considering a similar action after spending 13,000 pounds on her unsuccessful treatment. [The Mail on Sunday, 8 October] A Catholic bishop in Long Island, New York, has banned all politicians with pro-abortion views from the premises of Catholic institutions in his diocese. Bishop James T McHugh of Rockville Center said: "The reason for this is that it would be foolish and counterproductive to provide a platform to those who favour or support a public policy of abortion on demand or of euthanasia or assisted suicide. It would also be extremely misleading to provide such persons a platform to promote their views, even on other issues, lest they claim that the Church somehow implicitly tolerates their rejection of Church teaching on pro-life issues." [EWTN News, 10 October] The Reform party's candidate for next month's American presidential election has set out various policies aimed at reversing permissive abortion laws. Patrick J Buchanan said that he would appoint only pro-life Supreme Court justices, reverse President Clinton's anti-life executive orders and urge congress to pass a pro-life amendment to the constitution. Mr Buchanan, a Catholic, also said that he would cut US funding for pro-abortion organisations, push for legislation to outlaw the RU-486 abortion pill and "advance the whole cause of life and the culture of life". [CNS, 10 October] The Canadian government has given one million dollars to the World March of Women, the goals of which include greater access to abortion. 800,000 dollars was donated to the international component of the march, and nearly 200,000 dollars to the march organisers in Canada. [LifeSite Daily News, 6 October]

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