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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 13 October 2000

13 October 2000

13 October 2000 The European Union's commissioner for research has confirmed that a 1998 European directive which prohibited the patenting of cloning technology applies to so-called therapeutic cloning as well as to reproductive cloning. Commissioner Philippe Busquin made his comments in a letter to Peter Liese, a pro-life member of the European Parliament. The directive concerned (98/44/EC) observed that a consensus existed within the European Community that human cloning "offends against ordre public and morality". Comment on Reproductive Ethics, an anti-cloning pressure group, reported that the directive was adopted with the vote of the United Kingdom. European directives do not in themselves have the force of law, but there is a requirement that European Union member states should incorporate them into their own national law. [CORE release, 12 October, and other sources] George W Bush, the Republican candidate in next month's US presidential election, "would be inclined to support" legislation filed last week in both the Senate and House of Representatives seeking to impose restrictions on the use of RU-486, according to his spokesman. Scott McClellan confirmed that Mr Bush would have signalled his intention to sign such a bill during the last televised presidential debate, but was not asked about it. [AP, 12 October; from Pro-Life Infonet ] The health minister of Singapore has rejected a call to amend the Termination of Pregnancy Act so as to require parental consent before girls under the age of 21 obtain abortions. Mr Lim Hng Kiang cited the alleged risks of such a move, including suicide and recourse to unlicensed abortion practitioners, and said that "on balance" the government had decided not to implement the measure. It is reported that about one in five abortions in Singapore involve girls aged between 13 and 21. [Straits Times, 12 October ] A member of the US House of Representatives has denounced plans for American supplies of the RU-486 abortion pill to be produced in China. Christopher Smith, a Republican congressman, said: "The company that produces baby poison for enforced abortion in China will now be producing it for American women. The Chinese government will make money on the killing of unborn children in America ... This is an outrage." [AP, Nando Times, 12 October] The doctor who helped four people to die during the short period in which euthanasia was legal in Australia's Northern Territory has said that he intends to hold suicide advice clinics every six months in New Zealand, starting from next January. Dr Philip Nitschke has applied to the New Zealand Medical Council for registration, although the legality of the clinics in New Zealand appears to be a matter of debate. The New Zealand Medical Association opposes euthanasia, but Ruth Dyson, associate minister of health in parliament, said that she had no difficulty with Dr Nitschke's campaign. [The New Zealand Herald, 11 October ] The Catholic archbishop of Cincinnati, Ohio, will join a prayer vigil outside a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic tomorrow. Archbishop Daniel E Pilarczyk last joined such a vigil in December 1996. His spokesman said that the archbishop's participation in the event was "to give a prayerful witness that while abortion may be legal, it's not right." [AP,, 12 October ] Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the 'ultra-nationalist' Russian politician, has called for a 10-year ban on all abortions for women under 42 years of age in order to address the alarming decline in Russia's population figures. Mr Zhirinovsky is leader of the LDPR party and deputy speaker of the state duma, or lower house of parliament. [AFP, 12 October; from Pro-Life E-News]

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