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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 15 May 2001

15 May 2001

15 May 2001 A British man has been released on conditional bail after pleading guilty to suffocating his 22-year-old manic depressive daughter. Mr James Lawson, from Hove in East Sussex, helped Sarah Lawson take an overdose of anti-depressants before suffocating her. Sarah's mother said that she supported her estranged husband's actions. Sarah had suffered from manic depression for more than 10 years, and her mother described her life as "intolerable". Sentencing has been adjourned for reports. [BBC News online, 15 May ] The South African health department has expressed concern that state clinics cannot cope with the high demand for abortion. There are between 2,500 and 3,000 abortions performed in state hospitals and clinics every month in South Africa, while abortions are also carried out in private facilities. The health department has revealed that a total of 155,624 legal abortions were performed in state facilities between the time of the legalisation of abortion in February 1997 and the end of January this year. 80,873 (over half) of these were obtained by girls under the age of 18. [News24, 13 May ; SPUC] Lord Winston, the in vitro fertilisation (IVF) pioneer, has poured scorn on the scientists who aim to employ human cloning technology for reproductive purposes. Speaking in Australia, Lord Winston claimed that the three scientists who recently announced plans for reproductive cloning were not serious. Citing the high failure rates and abnormalities observed in cloned animals, he said: "The idea that somebody might do that to a human being is actually - when you think about it - unthinkable." Lord Winston also expressed his shock that an American group of scientists led by Dr Jacques Cohen had created IVF babies possessing genes from two women by transferring mitochondria from one woman's egg to another's. Lord Winston said that this was "deeply disturbing and thoroughly lamentable". [The Canberra Times, 15 May ] 127 Japanese leprosy patients have claimed that they were forced to have their babies aborted during enforced incarceration in a leprosarium over the last 60 years. The patients are claiming that enforcement of the Leprosy Prevention Law led to 3,500 abortions at the Hoshizuka Keiaien leprosy centre, even though leprosy [or Hansen's disease] is not hereditary. [The Daily Yomiuri, 12 May] The New York City comptroller [chief fiscal officer] has demanded that the Wal-Mart supermarket chain make the abortifacient morning-after pill available from its pharmacies. [Wal-Mart, which owns the British ASDA retail chain, decided in 1999 not to stock the Previn morning-after pill in its pharmacies - see news digest for 8 August 2000.] Alan Hevesi, who is standing for mayor, made his comments despite the fact that there are no Wal-Mart stores in New York City. [LifeSite, 14 May ; New York Post, 11 May ] It has been reported that the US National Institutes of Health has funded the transplantation of tissue extracted from aborted unborn children into laboratory mice as part of AIDS research. One such procedure involved the use of tissue obtained from 15 to 18 abortions performed later than the 20th week of pregnancy. The facility which allegedly conducted the research terminated all involvement with foetal tissue research on 1 January 2000. [World Net Daily, 14 May ] The premier of Queensland, Australia, ignored pro-abortion campaigners as he made his way to a Australian Labor Party conference in Brisbane. Campaigners had asked Peter Beattie to sign a petition calling for abortion to be removed from the criminal code. [ABC News Online, 12 May ] The Roman Catholic archbishop of Denver has stressed the importance of respect for human life in an exchange of letters with a pro-abortion US congresswoman. US Rep Diana DeGette had been invited to speak at a dinner sponsored by the Denver Archdiocesan Housing Committee, but Archbishop Charles Chaput revoked her invitation on account of her anti-life views. When Ms DeGette referred to the "fringe politics of abortion" in her reply, Archbishop Chaput wrote: "I've always been puzzled by political leaders who exclude unborn children from the protection of the justice they claim to champion." Ms DeGette described this response as "confrontational and combative". [EWTN News, 15 May ]

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