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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 22 October 2001

22 October 2001

22 October 2001 43 people have gone on trial in Porto, Portugal, charged with procuring or participating in illegal abortions. 17 of the accused are women alleged to have had abortions, while others include nurses, doctors and a social worker. Abortion is illegal in Portugal except in cases of foetal handicap, rape or a serious threat to the health of the mother. Official statistics indicate that in 1999 there were 491 abortions performed in the country. Pro-abortionists dressed in black are demonstrating near the court. [The Independent, 22 October] The student union at Kent University, England, has disaffiliated from the National Abortion Campaign (NAC). The move came after Piers Shepherd, chairman of the University of Kent Pro-Life Society, informed the president of the student union that affiliation to NAC breached the union's charitable status. Charities are prohibited in law from affiliating to political organisations. This digest reported last year that the student unions at Cambridge, Warwick, East Anglia and York universities had also voted against affiliation to the NAC, which campaigns for abortion on demand up to birth. [K.U. Pro-Life Society media release; also see news digest for 6 November 2000 ] Researchers in the United States have found that two-thirds of people killed in acts of so-called mercy killing are women. Silvia Sara Canetto, associate professor of psychology at Colorado State University, said that her team's findings suggested that sick and elderly women were more likely to feel dependent and a burden on others and so at risk of feeling under pressure to request euthanasia. Professor Canetto found that 70% of so-called mercy killings recorded by the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society between 1960 and 1993 were carried out by men. In 85% of cases, it was not known whether the victim asked to be killed. [Health Scout News, 17 October; via Pro-Life Infonet ] The international relations committee of the US House of Representatives has heard new claims that the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been funding coerced abortions in China. A study released earlier this month by the Population Research Institute (PRI) claimed that, while the UNFPA claims to participate only in voluntary "reproductive health programmes" in China, there is practically no distinction between what the UNFPA does and what the Chinese Family Planning Office does. Steve Weinberg, spokesman for the PRI, said that his organisation had video and audio proof that forced abortions and sterilisations were being imposed at the hands of Chinese officials in the same offices as UNFPA officials worked. [CNS, 18 October; via Pro-Life Infonet ] A ruling by the supreme court of Kansas has demonstrated the absurdity of the law surrounding abortion in the United States. Pro-lifers had been excited when the Kansas supreme court justices ruled that a physician who has a doctor-patient relationship with a pregnant woman who intends to carry her child to term also has a doctor-patient relationship with her unborn baby. However, Steve Crampton, a prominent pro-family attorney, observed: "The decision in favour of the rights of the unborn will not interfere with the so-called 'right' to abortion as it exists in this post-Roe v. Wade age. There is a rational contradiction to those of us that think about it, but for the courts, they refuse to recognise that contradiction." [AgapePress, 16 October ]

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