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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 22 May 2001

22 May 2001

22 May 2001 Every year in Britain the bodies of nearly 500,000 unborn children are being incinerated with used syringes and soiled swabs, according to an investigation by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). Environmental legislation which stops most hospitals from incinerating the bodies on site means that 10,000 foetuses are transported to 37 regional incineration units every week. The report, which will be disclosed today at the RCN's annual conference, claims that guidelines introduced by the government 10 years ago to ensure "sensitive and respectful" disposal of all foetal material are being widely flouted. Most of the bodies are those of the estimated 300,000 unborn children who die each year in miscarriages during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy as well as the 180,000 children killed under the Abortion Act. The RCN will today publish its own guidelines which recommend communal cremations or burials, and the option of individual ceremonies when the unborn child's family wishes to be involved. [The Guardian, 22 May ] It has emerged that Schering, the pharmaceutical company which manufactures the Levonelle-2 morning-after pill, is to intervene in SPUC's judicial review of the British government's decision to make the abortifacient drug available from pharmacists without a doctor's prescription. The intervention will increase the costs of the case by about 50,000 pounds. The judicial review hearing is expected to take place in July. [SPUC, 22 May] Catholic bishops in southern Spain have reacted angrily to an order requiring pharmacists in Andalucia to supply the abortifacient morning-after pill. Francisco Vallejo, the Andalucian health counsellor, insisted that pharmacists did not have the right to claim conscientious objection. Archbishop Carlos Amigo Vallejo of Seville and Bishop Antonio Dorado Soto of Málaga-Melilla both criticised the order and claimed that the provision of the morning-after pill side-stepped the legal requirements for abortion in Spain. [EWTN News, 21 May ] An electrical implant developed in the United States which is designed to stimulate the regrowth of nerves is to be tested on six patients in Ireland. Mr Ciaran Bolger, director of neurosurgery at Beaumont hospital in Dublin, said that he was excited about the potential benefits to human patients with spinal injuries. The device, which has been tested successfully on animals, generates a very low power electrical field for up to a year which, it is hoped, will encourage severed nerves in the spinal cord to grow faster and in a particular direction. [BBC News online, 20 May ; Independent, 22 May ] This technology provides yet another potential alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells and so-called therapeutic cloning to treat neurological injuries. Dr LeRoy Carhart, the abortionist who successfully challenged Nebraska's ban on partial birth abortions in the US Supreme Court last year, has suggested that he performed abortions to satisfy his ego. CNN quotes Dr Carhart as saying: "I've done enough abortions that I don't feel I have to do any more to satisfy my ego." He now acts as a figurehead and spokesman for pro-abortion forces and comments: "The biggest change of my life is travelling all over the country. I really love it. It's more fun than doing abortions." [CNN, 18 May; via Pro-Life Infonet] A court in Kumamoto, Japan, has ordered the government to pay 11 million pounds to 127 former leprosy patients who were forcibly confined to remote leper colonies until a change in the law five years ago [see news digest for 15 May ]. It is reported that many inmates of early leper colonies were forced to have abortions. [Independent, 12 May ] US President George Bush has written to Pope John Paul II noting with admiration his "vision of a world embracing human dignity". The president wrote his letter to congratulate the Pope on his 81st birthday. [Zenit , 21 May]

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