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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 31 October 2000

31 October 2000

31 October 2000 Cardinal Thomas Winning, archbishop of Glasgow, has written to every Scottish member of the British House of Commons on the subject of human cloning, ahead of today's vote on a bill which would legalise so-called therapeutic cloning. The cardinal wrote: "I would ask you to consider for a moment, in the quiet of your own conscience, whether it can be right to allow cloning to go ahead, albeit 'therapeutic' cloning, when the simple truth is that therapeutic cloning ultimately means killing those embryos which are 'raided' for their cells. This procedure exploits human beings at the most vulnerable stage of their lives." [Zenit news agency, 30 October] The Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which was passed by the US House of Representatives last month by a massive majority, failed to pass the Senate before members of Congress adjourned over the weekend. The measure would have given legal protection to babies born alive after botched abortions. Senate majority leader Trent Lott had attempted to have the bill passed by unanimous consent, but Democratic senators objected. [National Review, 27 October; from Pro-Life Infonet] Archbishop Edward M Egan of New York has urged the 2.4 million Catholics in his diocese to vote for candidates who "share our commitment to fundamental rights for the unborn" in next week's elections. His letter, which was read out over the weekend in 413 parishes, did not mention any candidates or political parties by name. [Zenit news agency, 30 October] The US House of Representatives has again approved the Pain Relief Promotion Act, this time by 237 votes to 174. The measure would ban the use of federally controlled substances in assisted suicides [but at the same time assist the provision of adequate pain relief to the terminally ill]. The legislation was originally passed by the House in October 1999, but this time was attached to a bill concerned with tax reform in an attempt to get it through the Senate. However, President Clinton has threatened to veto the whole act. [AP and Reuters, 26 October; from pro-Life Infonet] Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, denounced the RU-486 abortion drug on Sunday. He said: "It's a pill that brings death. That's strange medicine." The drug is expected to be made available in Chicago before the end of November. [Chicago Sun-Times, 30 October ] The Reuters news agency has revealed that large gold characters on the gates of the factory in Shanghai where supplies of the RU-486 abortion drug are being manufactured for the American market spell out the message "Make widely known the value of life". The writer of the Reuters report observes: "The workers who stream past it each day seem unaware of the irony, and ignorant of the fact that their factory has plunged into the centre of the long-contested debate in the United States over the ethics of abortion." [Reuters, 29 October; from Fox News ]

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