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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 2 April 2002

2 April 2002

2 April 2002 Members of both houses of the UK parliament from all the major parties have written to US President Bush urging him to block further American funding for the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Separate letters, one signed by members of the House of Commons and the other by members of the House of Lords, pointed out that the UNFPA had funded, supported, praised and defended China's coercive population control policy, which entails forced abortions and infanticide. The letters noted that US funding for the UNFPA had been declared illegal under former administrations because of the organisation's complicity in China's population control policy. [SPUC, 2 April] Active euthanasia finally became legal in the Netherlands yesterday. The law to legalise active euthanasia was passed by the Dutch parliament in April last year, but did not take full effect until 1 April 2002. It is reported that the euthanasia debate in the Netherlands is now widening with some groups calling for legal euthanasia without explicit consent and the provision of suicide pills. [BBC News online, 1 April ] Medical practitioners and drug shop operators in Apac, Uganda, have been warned not to contravene the country's pro-life laws by providing abortifacient drugs. In an address to participants at a one-day workshop on Saturday, Drani Dradriga, the district resident commissioner of Apac, observed: "I have heard reports about the increasing sale of illegal drugs on the market that encourage abortions. I warn whoever is doing it to desist from the practice because it is against the professional ethics of medical practitioners and the constitution." [AllAfrica. com, 30 March; via Northern Light ] A survey of Australian state premiers has indicated that a majority support destructive stem cell research on surplus in vitro fertilisation embryos. The premiers of Australia's six states and two territories will meet John Howard, the Australian prime minister, on Friday to work out a national policy on stem cell research. While Mr Howard is thought to favour a ban on embryo research, several state premiers have voiced their support for such research. 90 religious leaders, bioethicists and scientists have issued a statement describing destructive research on embryos as "a grave offence to human dignity". [The Australian, 1 April; previous news digests] California has become the first state in the USA to force health insurers to pay for the abortifacient morning-after pill. Declaring that "a woman's right to choose must never be held up by red tape", Governor Gray Davis ordered HMOs (Health Maintenance Organisations) to cover the costs of the drug. Ms Cindy Moles, the San Diego area director for Concerned Women for America, said: "Choosing to sponsor human extermination may be Mr Davis's choice, but forcing Californians to sponsor his immoral agenda is an abuse of power." [The Washington Times, 29 March ] A state court in North Dakota has rejected a lawsuit against an abortion facility which had claimed in its advertising literature that there was no evidence of a link between induced abortion and breast cancer [see news digest for 28 March ]. Judge Michael McGuire ruled that the facility could rely on statements by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society which did not recognise a causal link. Ms Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, commented: "Judge McGuire's decision denies women the right to informed consent. Women have the right to know that 28 out of 37 studies have linked abortion with breast cancer since 1957. What is the judge's problem with telling women that much?" [Pro-Life Infonet, 1 April ]

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