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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 24 January 2001

24 January 2001

24 January 2001 The British Conservative party's health spokesman has called for "a huge restriction, if not abolition" of abortion. Dr Liam Fox, the official opposition's shadow health secretary, made his call in the Conservative Christian Fellowship's prayer diary, and confirmed his sentiments last night. Other Conservative spokesmen are also known to hold pro-life views, while Mr William Hague, Conservative leader, has described himself as "anti-abortion, except in the case of rape". Mr Hague is said to be considering a pledge to introduce a bill on abortion in parliament if the Conservatives win the next general election, although any such bill would be subject to a free vote. [The Times and The Independent , 24 January] Catholic Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham, England, has said that the decision by parliament to authorise destructive research on cloned human embryos "cheapened human life" and constituted an "affront to human dignity". He continued: "In the debate, much was made of the 'special status' [of] the human embryo ... if human embryos, which are human life, can be manufactured, stripped of tissue and then destroyed, in effect they have no 'special status' at all." Meanwhile, Professor Peter Andrews of Sheffield University said that he would soon be submitting an application to begin research under the new regulations. [The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, 24 January] A doctors' group in Australia has expressed concern at the increasing acceptance of euthanasia. Professor David Currow, vice-president of Palliative Care Australia, said that making every terminally ill patient think about euthanasia was "an enormous impost on people who are already feeling isolated and frightened". A 1996 study suggested that 30 percent of deaths in Australia were intentionally accelerated by a doctor. [Sydney Morning Herald, 24 January ] The president of the Italian bishops' conference has called for a serious public debate on life issues in the run-up to national elections. Cardinal Camillo Ruini condemned the abortifacient morning-after pill, which was made available in Italy last October, as well as euthanasia. He stressed that Italy should not be afraid to take policy stands contrary to other European countries on such matters. [EWTN News, 23 January ] Pro-life campaigners in Cuba have urged Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston and other American pro-lifers to help draw attention to the plight of a pro-life leader held in prison since November 1999. Dr Oscar Elias Biscet was expelled from the Cuban national health system after condemning the high abortion rate and has since been incarcerated and reportedly subjected to torture. Amnesty International has declared Dr Biscet a prisoner of conscience. A former auxiliary bishop in Havana has said that six out of every 10 unborn babies are killed by abortion in Cuba. [LifeSite, 23 January ]

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