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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 24 March 2001

24 March 2001

24 March 2001 SPUC has welcomed the pre-election message of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales . Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, said: "The bishops make it abundantly clear that voters must act out of concern for the weakest and most vulnerable members of society, and not out of self interest." The document's section on human life--its most explicit and prescriptive part--states: "Catholic electors need to discover the views of their local candidates on these fundamental issues [abortion, embryo research and cloning, euthanasia], which directly involve the intentional destruction of human life." A quarter of British mothers are caused unnecessary concern about their babies by medical staff during pregnancy, according to a survey of 2,000 women. The study claims that mothers have an average of four scans during pregnancy as opposed to three in 1999. More than half of those surveyed said antenatal tests worried them. Some women were told their children were too small when there was actually nothing wrong. [Mother&Baby, 22 March ] Newborn children could be legally defined as foetuses under a pending US federal regulation drafted under the outgoing Clinton administration. Last week Mr Tommy Thompson, the health and human services secretary, was persuaded by pro-life congressmen to extend a moratorium on the rule's implementation by a further 60 days. [, 22 March ] A committee of Belgian senators has agreed a draft law to permit euthanasia for patients who are terminally ill or who have incurable diseases which cause great pain (see news digest of 16 January ). The bill is expected to be voted on by the upper house next month and by the lower house soon afterwards. [Reuters via Pro-Life Infonet , 21 March] The US supreme court has ruled that public hospitals may not tell police if pregnant women are found to be using drugs. Staff at the Medical University of South Carolina began passing results of urine tests to the authorities in 1989. [Reuters via CNN, 21 March ] Chilean Catholic bishops have asserted that the morning-after pill violates the country's constitution because it destroys human life. Wednesday's digest reported on how the health minister had agreed to the sale of such pills. The president has said that he will will not impose one group's opinions on others. The bishops say that the state should defend life, marriage and family. [Zenit , 21 March] A subcommittee of the US Congress has passed a bill which would make it a crime to injure or kill an unborn child during an attack on his or her mother. The House of Representatives has passed a similar bill. Opponents of the bill say it offers no extra protection for women and merely encourages discussion of when life begins. Next week the judiciary committee may debate the bill, whose prospects in the Senate are uncertain. [Pro-Life Infonet , 22 March] The Canadian federal government has conceded that it has no evidence that abortion is medically necessary. The information commissioner made the disclosure in a reply to Mr Gary Breitkreuz MP. [LifeSite, 21 March ] Men and women whose mothers suffered from pre-eclampsia during pregnancy have an increased likelihood of conceiving children whose pregnancy is also complicated by the condition. Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine reports the research finding by Utah university. Wednesday's news digest reported on how pre-eclampsia among American women had increased by one third during the 1990s. [AP via CNN, 21 March , and New England Journal of Medicine, 22 March ]

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