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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 9 March 2001

9 March 2001

9 March 2001 An Italian fertility specialist has announced plans to conduct reproductive human cloning within two years. Professor Severino Antinori told a news conference in Rome today that he had received an invitation from an unnamed Mediterranean country [SPUC sources suggest that this country may be Turkish Cyprus] to establish a human cloning clinic, and that he already had a long list of applicant couples. SPUC reacted with concern and sadness at the news, and blamed British prime minister Tony Blair's government for the development. Mr John Smeaton, national director of SPUC, said: "When the British parliament voted to authorise research into so-called therapeutic cloning, it did so in blatant contravention of international consensus. Despite the assurances of ministers that the research would not lead to reproductive cloning, Professor Antinori has thanked Tony Blair for making it possible to go ahead with his plans." Mr Smeaton continued: "All human cloning is a blatant denial of human dignity. It is to the great shame of our country's leaders that Britain has taken the lead in this repugnant technology." [BBC News online and SPUC media release , 9 March] A Vatican missionary agency has claimed that China's one-child population control policy has resulted in the illegal trafficking of women. Fides claimed that the high rate of sex-selective abortion of female unborn children meant that there were 70 million unmarried men in China aged between 25 and 49. Documents released by the Chinese Communist party indicated that more than 19,000 cases of women being sold against their will were discovered in 1990, while more than 60,000 people were arrested after being implicated in the trade. [Zenit news agency , 8 March] A coalition of Christian groups and individuals in the United States is mounting a legal challenge to the guidelines issued by President Clinton's administration which allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The Bush administration is currently reviewing these guidelines. The suit, brought in the District of Columbia by the Christian Medical Association and others, argues that the guidelines illegally violate a congressional ban on research using human embryos. Senator Sam Brownback, who is supporting the action, said: "It has never been acceptable to kill one person for the benefit of another. Yet this is precisely what was proposed by the NIH [National Institutes of Health] when they formalised their guidelines governing destructive human research last year." [Reuters, from Yahoo! News, 8 March ] The only independent abortion clinic in the Australian state of Tasmania has closed after an eight-year campaign by pro-lifers. Ecumenical prayer meetings had been held in churches near the Women's Health Foundation clinic every Thursday since August 1992. About 10 abortions were performed each week in the clinic, which announced that it was closing due to a drop in custom. [The Mercury, 9 March ] Kentucky's state senate has passed a measure which defines human life as beginning at the moment an egg is fertilised by a sperm. If the measure becomes law, murderers of pregnant women could be charged on two counts of homicide. Pro-abortionists have objected to the measure, claiming that a natural progression would be to include abortion under homicide laws. [AP, via The Cincinnati Enquirer, 9 March ]

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