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from conception to natural death


News, 30 October 2001

30 October 2001

30 October 2001 The Belgian senate has voted to legalise euthanasia. Members of the upper house of Belgium's legislature voted by 44 to 23 in favour of the bill, which will now pass to the lower house. Under the proposed law, doctors could legally kill patients as long as they were "of age and conscious", had requested euthanasia freely and consistently, were in a "terminal medical condition" and were enduring "constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain". The Netherlands is presently the only country in which euthanasia is legal in national law. [LifeSite and EWTN News , 26 October] It is reported that scientists in the United States may have created the first successfully cloned monkey embryos. The breakthrough by Professor Don Wolf of the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center is thought to be the first time that primates have been successfully cloned, and the technology could pave the way for the cloning of humans. Professor Wolf now hopes to implant the rhesus monkey embryos inside surrogate mothers with the aim of creating lines of genetically identical laboratory animals for use in research projects. Professor Gerald Schatten of Pittsburgh university has also created embryonic cloned rhesus monkeys, but problems encountered with the cloning process has meant that none have been capable of implanting. [The Sunday Times, 28 October ] Figures released by the British department of health have indicated that 237,000 prescriptions for the abortifacient morning-after pill were provided by National Health Service family planning clinics in England over the past year. The total for 2000/01 represents a decrease of one percent on the year before, but does not take into account other prescriptions for the drug and sales of Levonelle-2 by pharmacists without prescriptions. [Department of Health, 24 October ] More than a million courses of the morning-after pill were provided in total last year. The full hearing of SPUC's legal challenge to non-prescription sales of the drug will begin in the High Court in London on 4 February. The House of Lords, Britain's upper house of parliament, has rejected an amendment which would have ended UK funding of coercive abortion programmes in China. An amendment to the International Development bill, which had been tabled by Baroness Cox, a Conservative peer, was defeated by 149 votes to 67 last Thursday. The clause would have blocked funding of the United Nations Population Fund and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, both of which support China's one-child population control policy. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's political secretary, said: "It is a scandal that the government imposed what was rumoured to be a three-line whip against the amendment.... The government clearly has no intention of applying an ethical foreign policy to its own budget. However, we intend to continue the campaign in the House of Commons because we know that our case is water-tight." [SPUC, 25 October] A doctor in Tokyo, Japan, is providing condoms which come with a free abortion guarantee. Dr Tsuneo Akaeda provides young women with what he calls Girl's Guard condoms which carry with them the guarantee of a free first-time pregnancy test and a free abortion up to 11 weeks into pregnancy if any condom bursts. In order to prevent misuse, all women must first send in the burst condom together with their photo. [Mainichi Daily News, 27 October ]

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