News, 16 February 2001
16 February 2001
16 February 2001 Members of the European parliament are being asked to add their signatures to a draft resolution condemning moves to legalise euthanasia in certain European countries. Maria Martens, a Dutch member of the parliament who belongs to the European People's Party, is collecting the signatures and hopes to present the resolution for debate and a vote next month. The resolution condemns active euthanasia and calls on member states to develop adequate care and pain therapy for the terminally ill. [Zenit news agency , 15 February] The agency which regulates fertility treatment in the UK has expressed concern at the lack of stricter regulation in some American states. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said that it was aware of the growing number of British couples who travelled to the US to buy eggs from donors. A BBC investigation revealed that British couples could buy human eggs from the US over the internet, and that the number of couples willing to pay up to 20,000 dollars to undergo in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment in the US had tripled over the past two years. In the UK, the practice of buying human eggs is banned. [BBC News online, 16 February ] Most human beings conceived through IVF die before implantation, and most of those who are introduced into a woman die before birth. A federal court in Puerto Rico has awarded thousands of dollars in compensation to two women who encountered pro-life demonstrators when they went to obtain abortions in 1992 and 1993. The women were awarded $26,125 each, while the two abortion facilities were awarded $197,227 for loss of business. A further $100,000 was awarded in punitive damages. Judge Jose Antonio Fuste said: "A woman who is unable to keep her appointment for an abortion because of a blockade suffers tremendous physical and emotional harm." Pro Vida, the pro-life group involved in the demonstrations, plans to appeal. [AP, 15 February; via Northern Light ] Pro-abortion legislators yesterday introduced a measure to the US Congress aimed at reversing President Bush's re-introduction of the Mexico City policy which prevents US aid from being given to any international group which either provides or promotes abortion. The legislation, introduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives, states that no organisation shall be ineligible for aid "solely on the basis of health or medical services". Senator Barbara Boxer, an author of the measure, criticised President Bush's decision to block US funding of pro-abortion groups and said: "It is cruel to women. It is backward. It is counterproductive. It will lead to more women dying." The chances of the legislation's being passed by Congress are thought to be very slim. [San Francisco Chronicle, 15 February ] The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has signalled its support for the decision by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace to disassociate from the pro-abortion World March of Women [see news digest for 13 February ]. The CCCB supported the World March of Women last year, although a number of bishops voiced their personal opposition. Bishop Nicola De Angelis, an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese of Toronto, had stressed at the time that the CCCB was a purely administrative body and could not speak for the Canadian episcopate as a whole. [LifeSite, 15 February ] Pro-life campaigners in central London have embarked on a major information campaign to highlight the true nature and dangers of the abortifacient morning-after pill. William Jolliffe, secretary of the Kensington and Chelsea branch of SPUC, has arranged for information leaflets to be sent to 64,000 homes in the parliamentary constituency. [SPUC media release, 16 February] The Christian Medical Association in the United States has accused those groups which have requested over-the-counter sales of the abortifacient morning-after pill of neglecting the medical ethic of informed consent. Dr David Stevens, executive director of the 14,000-member association, was reacting to the news that 60 groups had petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration to reclassify the drug [see news digest for 14 February ]. He said: "These activists are saying a woman is not pregnant because implantation has not taken place... [they] are pulling the wool over women's eyes by obscuring the fact that the morning-after pill causes a living human being to die..." [PR Newswire, 15 February; via Northern Light ] The three main maternity hospitals in Dublin recorded a considerable rise in the number of births last year. The total was up by 500, and the Coombe Women's Hospital reported its busiest year in two decades. [Irish Independent, 16 February ] The right to life of the unborn is constitutionally protected in the Irish Republic.