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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 26 June 2001

26 June 2001

26 June 2001 The funeral for Cardinal Thomas Winning, a champion of the unborn, was held yesterday in Scotland. The main celebrant at the Mass in St Andrew's cathedral was Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster. In a message read out by Archbishop Pablo Puente, the papal nuncio, Pope John Paul II said that Cardinal Winning would be remembered "for having an outstanding attitude to the defence of life". [BBC News online, 25 June ; Guardian, 26 June ] The office of the public prosecutor of the French supreme court has asserted that an unborn child is juridicially a life from the moment of his or her conception. The court has been asked to rule on whether a drunken driver who caused the death of an unborn child of six months ' gestation in 1995 is guilty of the involuntary homicide of a foetus. A lower court decided that charges of involuntary homicide could be brought if the unborn child was "viable". [Zenit, 25 June ] A homosexual Australian high court judge has called for a law to prevent the identification and abortion of unborn children with a predisposition to homosexuality. Judge Michael Kirby told an ethics forum in Brisbane that unborn children were already screened for various genetic conditions such as "retardation", and warned that in the future it would be possible to detect genes which allegedly caused conditions such as homosexuality and early baldness. He said: "Although I do not regard my sexuality as a disability, there is no doubt that some people would do so." [AFP, 25 June; via Pro-Life E-News] It has been reported that the Dutch government indirectly funded the conversion of a trawler into a floating abortion clinic for the Women on the Waves foundation. The grant of 72,000 guilders [about 20,000 British pounds] was ostensibly an arts grant. Eveline Herfkens, the Dutch government minister for development co-operation, has described the abortion ship as "a concrete answer to an awful problem" and has even suggested that the Dutch parliament could donate a further one million guilders [277,000 pounds] to the project. [Galway for Life and LifeSite, 25 June; via Pro-Life Infonet] A convention of Indian government officials and religious leaders in New Delhi has called for an end to sex-selective abortions of unborn girls. The convention, which brought together the leaders of all major religions in India as well as government ministers, opposition politicians and others, described sex-selective abortion as "cold-blooded murder". [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 June ; Los Angeles Times, 25 June ] The top Republican in the US Senate has spoken of the "great potential" of destructive embryonic stem cell research. Trent Lott stopped short of endorsing such research, but told President Bush that it had "potentially significant health benefits". Senator John McCain, another prominent Republican, has said that destructive embryonic research is "probably something that is good for America". A decision on whether federal funding will be authorised for destructive embryonic stem cell research is expected next month. [Houston Chronicle, 24 June ] A new ultrasound technique is being used in Maryland to detect unborn babies with genetic and chromosomal anomalies. Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center are the first in the United States to employ a technique called nuchal translucency screening which involves the use of ultrasound to analyse fluid in the baby's neck. [Science Daily, 21 June ]

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