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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 30 November 2001

30 November 2001

30 November 2001 The creation of cloned human embryos through ovum nucleus replacement remains unregulated in the United Kingdom, though it is now against the law to place an embryo not created by fertilisation in a woman's womb. The British government yesterday pushed its Human Reproductive Cloning Bill through the House of Commons in a single day, having done the same in the House of Lords on Monday. SPUC wrote to MPs this week to point out that, since human cloning for childbirth was not imminent, legislation should not be rushed. Ms Lynne Jones MP, who supports cloning, yesterday expressed surprise at finding herself in agreement with SPUC in calling for more time to consider the issue. [House of Commons Hansard, 29 November ] On the 15th of this month we reported on how the English high court had ruled that there was no law banning cloning by ovum nucleus replacement. President Bush is setting up a bioethics council to advise him on matters such as cloning. [Yahoo!, 28 November ] Members of the US House of Representatives continue to press senators to agree to the ban on cloning which the house passed, after reports that the Senate would not address the matter this year. [CNS News, 29 November and EWTN, 28 November ] Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) of Massachusetts received a $1.8 million federal grant for biotechnology research before the announcement that the company had produced a human clone. ACT say that the money will not be spent on cloning. [LA Times, 29 November ] The Christian Defense Coalition and the National Clergy Council were due to demonstrate outside ACT at noon local time today. [U.S. Newswire, 29 November ] A United Nations general assembly committee will meet to draft a ban on the use of cloned humans in February and September of next year. The group of bioethicists and geneticists are likely only to concern themselves with the use of clones to produce live births. [EWTN, 29 November ] The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family has said that the intention to use cloned humans to cure disease does not justify the process. Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo called for the UN and national governments to ban all cloning. [EWTN, 28 November ] The Canadian prime minister has expressed opposition to all cloning. Mr Jean Chrétien said that a bill before parliament would ban cloning for experimentation as well as live births. The opposition leader also opposed all cloning. [EWTN, 29 November ] Two British Catholic newspaper groups are defying a ban on SPUC's advertising which states that morning-after pills induce abortions. Catholic Herald Limited, publishers of the Catholic Herald and the Scottish Catholic Observer, and Gabriel Communications Limited, publishers of the Catholic Times and The Universe, have not only continued to print the advertisements but have also carried articles in their newspapers describing the stand which they are taking. The Universe describes the ban as a gag on Catholic teaching and Mr Joseph Kelly, editor, is quoted as saying that the Advertising Standards Authority's ruling breaches human rights law on freedom of religious expression. The Scottish Catholic Observer quotes Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul's encyclical on human life, on its front page in support of its position. The Association of Lawyers in Defence of the Unborn has supported SPUC's advertisements. [Catholic Herald, 30 November, Catholic Times, 2 December, Scottish Catholic Observer, 30 November, and The Universe, 2 December.] As reported a week ago, John Smeaton, SPUC's national director is prepared to go to prison over this matter. The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have welcomed the House of Lords' decision not to grant immunity from prosecution to a husband who wants to help his wife die. Archbishop Peter Smith, chairman of the Bishops' Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, expressed sympathy for Mrs Dianne Pretty, who suffers from motor neurone disease, but pointed out that modern palliative care could alleviate suffering. [Independent Catholic News, 30 November ] SPUC was part of a pro-life coalition (along with Alert and the Medical Ethics Alliance) which made a submission to the House of Lords. Lord Steyn, one of the five judges who unanimously rejected Mrs Pretty's request, praised the quality of the material submitted. Pregnant women are among the groups with increased risk of suffering from deep vein thrombosis during long journeys on aeroplanes and other forms of transport. New UK health department guidelines advise people in such groups to seek medical advice before undertaking such trips. [BBC, 30 November ]

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