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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 27 November 2001

27 November 2001

27 November 2001 The British House of Lords last night passed a bill which the British government claims will ban so-called reproductive cloning. The Human Reproductive Cloning Bill, aimed at prohibiting the placing in a woman of an embryo created other than by fertilisation, was passed unopposed following hours of sustained criticism of the bill's deficiencies by pro-life peers from across the parties. Baroness Knight of Collingtree, who campaigned successfully in 1994 against the use of eggs from aborted foetuses, said: "All human cloning, whether for experimentation or implanting in a womb-any womb-is reproductive.The government claim that this bill bans reproductive cloning. It does no such thing. The only way to stop loopholes through which so-called reproductive cloning can slip. is to ban the immoral process of creating cloned human embryos." The bill has now passed to the House of Commons for debate this Thursday. [House of Lords Hansard, 26 November: 2nd Reading stage and Committee stage] A senior cardinal in the Vatican has said that he expects the bishops of Ireland to oppose the wording of the Irish constitutional amendment bill on abortion. Addressing a conference in Rome last Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary of the apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said in Italian: "The situation is delicate in Ireland but we expect that the bishops will react against this project." [SPUC, 27 November] Prominent religious, political and pro-life figures from around the world have condemned ACT, an American company, for creating the first cloned human embryo. US President George Bush said that the breakthrough was "morally wrong", and a White House spokesman added that the US senate should now approve a ban on all human cloning. The Vatican condemned the news, as did the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Girolamo Sirchia, Italy's health minister, said that the experiments were "a grave danger for humanity that must be averted", and Joerg-Dietrich Hoppe, president of the Association of German Doctors, said that they were "unethical and testify to a horrifyingly low estimation of human life". [Pro-Life Infonet , 27 November] British parliamentarians yesterday heard evidence of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) complicity in coercive population control. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute and a world authority on China's one-child policy, addressed a briefing in the House of Lords where he detailed a recent investigation proving that population control is as coercive in UNFPA's so-called voluntary programme counties as it is elsewhere in China. Mr Mosher also explained that his negative opinion of China's one-child policy of forced abortions was formed prior to his adoption of pro-life and religious convictions, and originates from his findings as the first American social scientist to do field research in China since the 1949 Communist revolution. [SPUC, 27 November] Mr Mosher presented his evidence at the invitation of pro-life parliamentarians, including Lord (David) Alton, in conjunction with SPUC. The Russian Orthodox Church has condemned all forms of human cloning. Father Antony Ilyin, an official spokesman for the Moscow patriarchate, said: "We condemn therapeutic, as well as reproductive, cloning because the embryo ... can be considered the carrier of human dignity and blessed with the gift of life. In canon law, the destruction of embryos is tantamount to abortion and that means murder." [Reuters, via Yahoo! News, 26 November ] The government of Japan is to ban the creation of cloned human embryos as sources of stem cells. Live-birth human cloning is already prohibited in Japan but, under present law, cloning is allowed for the production of tissues and organs. However, the prohibition has been extended by way of an order by the Japanese ministry of education and science, which will take effect in December. [Zenit, 26 November ]

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