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, 23 April 2001

23 April 2001

23 April 2001 SPUC, Britain's longest established pro-life group, is asking the High Court in London to halt sales of the abortifacient morning-after pill from pharmacists. SPUC is to receive an oral hearing before a High Court judge within the next two weeks to seek permission to bring a judicial review of the reclassification of the Levonelle-2 morning-after pill as a drug available to women over 16 from pharmacists without a doctor's prescription. Mr John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, said that the case centred on "the undeniable fact that the morning-after pill can cause the death of a newly conceived human being" and that it should therefore be subject to the controls of the 1967 Abortion Act. Mr Smeaton claimed that, if these controls were not met, then the supply of morning-after pills was a criminal offence under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act and that, therefore, the secretary of state had acted beyond his powers by introducing the statutory instrument last year which reclassified Levonelle-2. [SPUC media release, 23 April ] The head of a British fertility clinic and one of his patients will go to court tomorrow in an attempt to overthrow a rule which limits the number of embryos who can be implanted in a woman following in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Mohammed Taranissi, head of the private Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Unit in London, and an un-named 46-year-old woman will seek a judicial review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's rule that only three embryos can be implanted in any IVF treatment cycle. The woman in the case has already undergone eight failed IVF cycles [each of which entailed the deaths of all three embryos introduced to her womb] and Mr Taranissi now wants permission to attempt the implantation of five embryos. [The Guardian, 23 April ] John Smeaton, national director of SPUC, said: "Our hearts go out to anyone suffering from infertility. However, here is a case of consumerism gone mad--of 'choice' put before all other reasonable considerations. Human embryos are being relegated to the status of materials in a manufacturing process with childbirth the end product. Society should not go any further down this road." The Chilean house of representatives has unanimously approved a special budget measure which provides free palliative care for the terminally ill. Carlos Olivares, president of the congressional health committee, has now urged the government to approve the measure quickly. Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa of Santiago, leader of the Catholic Church in Chile, said that palliative care offered a clear alternative to euthanasia and that the passing of the measure was a clear sign that his country still believed in the value of life. [EWTN News, 20 April ] Legislators in France have approved legislation which amends the 1975 law on abortion. The amendments, passed on 17 April by the senate, include the extension of the legal gestational time limit for abortions from 10 to 12 weeks and the deletion of a clause in the preamble to the law which made reducing the number of abortions a matter of public health. It is expected that the measures will come into effect around 15 May. [Laissez-les-Vivre - SOS Futures Mères, 19 April] The first meeting of the committee set up to review applications for US federal funding of embryonic stem cell research has been cancelled. The meeting, which was planned by the National Institutes of Health, was reportedly cancelled in private by the health and human services (HHS) department. It was unclear whether the order had been made at the behest of Tommy Thompson, the HHS secretary, or by President Bush. The HHS department is currently conducting a review of the former administration's decision to allow federal finding of the research. [Washington Post, 21 April ] The Women on the Waves foundation has claimed that its plan to offer abortions on a boat in international waters has moved closer to fruition [see last year's digests for 25 May , 15 June and 4 December ]. Rebecca Gomperts, the Dutch abortionist who is co-ordinating the project, announced that sufficient funds had been raised to test the facilities, which she said could provide first trimester abortions for up to 25 women a day. She said that the crew would be all-female and would concentrate on providing abortions for women in South American, African and Asian countries which had restrictive abortion laws. [ABC News, 20 April; via Pro-Life Infonet]

Be the first to comment!

Share this article