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News, 25 September 2001

25 September 2001

25 September 2001 A British pro-life newsletter has drawn attention to the partnership established between the BBC World Service and the pro-abortion International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). The Sexwise project, which consists of a website, a book and accompanying radio programmes, is a "global sex education project" available in 22 languages. In collaboration with IPPF, the BBC has written and translated the book and has commissioned and designed the website. The book describes abortion as "a procedure to terminate unwanted pregnancy" and stresses that "it is a personal decision for women". In smaller type, it concedes that abortion is illegal in some countries. Youngsters who visit the website are encouraged to contact family planning clinics in their own country. The project has also received funding from the European Commission and the pro-abortion David and Lucile Packard Foundation. [Vision for Love number 11, September 2001] The Roslin Institute in Scotland, which cloned Dolly the sheep in 1997, has announced its intention to concentrate on stem cell and cloning research. Professor Grahame Bulfield said that public hostility to genetically modified food had forced his institute to focus on the development of biomedical applications of cloning technology rather than on agricultural research. He commented: "People will permit technology to be used in producing drugs that they would be uncomfortable being used in agriculture." [BBC News online, 24 September ] The Irish government has rejected an opposition plan aimed at reducing the number of women seeking abortions. Mr Gay Mitchell, health spokesman for Fine Gael, proposed the establishment of a comprehensive and co-ordinated support programme for women with crisis pregnancies at a cost of 50 million Irish pounds over 10 years. Fianna Fáil, the governing party, claimed that the proposal "lagged behind" government plans to set up an agency to support women with crisis pregnancies this autumn. [Irish Independent, 25 September ] Mr John O'Reilly, secretary of the Irish Pro-Life Campaign, commented: "We recognise that there is a very real need for a programme of support for women with crisis pregnancies, but such a programme would need to be adequately funded. Five million pounds a year would be nowhere near enough." Pope John Paul II has urged the people of Nicaragua to use their votes in the forthcoming presidential election to uphold the dignity of life. Addressing the Nicaraguan bishops last Friday, the Pope called on voters "to choose democratic options that guarantee the Christian concept of man and society, which inescapably implies the fundamental rights of the person in all his aspects". [LifeSite, 24 September ] Nearly a year after the RU-486 abortion drug was licensed for use in the United States, a survey has indicated that it has not made much difference to the way most abortions are performed. The Kaiser Family Foundation of New York found that only six percent of gynaecologists and one percent of general practitioners had provided the drug, while only 16% of gynaecologists said that they were likely to prescribe the drug in the year ahead. A spokesman for National Right to Life welcomed the results and suggested that many doctors did not want to get involved in an issue as controversial as abortion. [San Francisco Chronicle and Denver Post , 24 September]

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