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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 18 June 2001

18 June 2001

18 June 2001 Cardinal Thomas Winning, a champion of the unborn, died yesterday at the age of 76. Cardinal Winning, who was archbishop of Glasgow and leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, collapsed at his home after a second heart attack. He had been discharged from hospital two days earlier after a first heart attack. Tributes to the late cardinal flooded in from figures including the Queen, the prime minister, the cardinal archbishop of Westminster, the archbishop of Canterbury and the chief rabbi. Mr John Smeaton, national director of SPUC, said: "The cardinal was perhaps the foremost champion in Britain of the sanctity of human life. He fought tirelessly and fearlessly against abortion, cloning and euthanasia. He founded a scheme to give practical help to girls and women for whom pregnancy was a problem and, through the scheme, many lives were saved. We shall miss him terribly." [Zenit, 17 June ; Times and Daily Telegraph, 18 June] The body of an unborn child who died at 16 weeks' gestation was accidentally thrown away with the rubbish by a hospital cleaner in England. An investigation has been launched at Bedford hospital after the vessel containing the foetus was placed in a refuse sack and then destroyed in a waste compactor. The vessel should have been taken to the mortuary in advance of cremation. The hospital authorities have apologised to the unborn child's family. [BBC News online, 16 June ] Doctors on board the floating abortion clinic in Dublin harbour have reportedly admitted that the voyage was just a publicity stunt. It is said that the doctors knew from the outset that no abortions would be performed, and the Women on the Waves foundation does not have sufficient funds to charter the boat for longer than three weeks. Dr Rebecca Gomperts, the Dutch abortionist behind the initiative, said that the activists would return home to "lick their wounds". [Electronic Telegraph, 17 June] The siamese twin who was separated from her sister in an operation which entailed the killing of the weaker child has returned home with her parents to the Maltese island of Gozo. A judge lifted the ban on identifying the twins on Friday. The surviving child, who was referred to as Jodie but actually called Gracie, has been cared for at St Mary's hospital in Manchester, England, since her birth 10 months ago. Her dead sister was referred to as Mary but was actually named Rosie. [BBC News online, 17 June ] A brain-dead woman was kept on a life-support machine in an Irish regional hospital last month against the wishes of her husband in order to save her unborn child. The woman collapsed with a brain haemorrhage on 13 May when she was 14 weeks pregnant, and was later pronounced brain dead. When the unborn child showed signs of movement, medical and legal opinions were sought. The Irish attorney general said that life support could be withdrawn, but Dr Gerard Hogan, a leading constitutional lawyer, advised that the ventilator should not be switched off without a court order. The unborn child then died on 30 May. [The Irish Times, 15 June ] Officials in Illinois have expressed concern about an initiative to supply the abortifacient morning-after pill without consultation with a doctor. The pro-abortion Planned Parenthood organisation is promoting a website through which women can obtain the morning-after pill without a visit to the doctor. Tony Sanders, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, said: "Illinois requires there to be a physician-patient relationship prior to the dispensing of any controlled substances or prescription drugs. It's certainly something we'll have to look into." [Zenit, 15 June ] A researcher in California has claimed that ordinary household appliances could kill unborn children. Dr De-Kun Li in San Francisco found that regular exposure to strong electromagnetic fields of the type which emanate from hairdryers and microwave ovens doubles the risk of miscarriage. Dr Li found that the risk was far higher in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, when women exposed to strong electromagnetic fields were six times as likely to suffer a miscarriage. [Ananova, 17 June ] SPUC's judicial review of the decision to make the abortifacient morning-after pill available from pharmacists without a doctor's prescription in the UK has been postponed until late Autumn. The full hearing had been expected to take place next month. [SPUC, London]

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