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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 21 August 2002

21 August 2002

21 August 2002 SPUC has renewed its call for European Union governments to stop funding the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) after it was revealed that more women had access to abortifacient birth control methods than safe drinking water in China and Vietnam. The 2002 World Bank Atlas states that 25% of the Chinese population and 44% of the Vietnamese population lack access to a source of safe fresh water, while among women of childbearing age, 83% and 75% respectively have access to contraception, including IUDs. Peter Smith of SPUC said: "Both China and Vietnam have coercive one and two-child policies, which are co-managed by UNFPA. The UK and other EU member states should take away UNFPA's funding and spend it on real development instead, such as giving a proper safe water-source to those Chinese and Vietnamese people who don't have one." [SPUC media release, 21 August ] Dr Philip Nitschke, the prominent Australian campaigner for euthanasia, has started to distribute specially designed suicide bags in the state of Queensland. It is reported that more than 150 people have already placed orders for the bags, which have a specially designed elasticised opening to provide an airtight seal around the neck. Peter Beattie, the premier of Queensland, told the state parliament that the bags were extremely distasteful and part of an attempt to pressurise the government into legalising assisted suicide. However, Mr Beattie argued that the bags could not be banned because to do so would entail banning other freely available items which could also be used for suicide such as razor blades. [LifeSite and BBC News online , 20 August] California's state assembly has passed legislation which affirms a right to abortion and attempts to prevent future legislators from passing pro-life laws [see digest for 16 August ]. Assembly members voted on Monday by 44 to 23 in favour of the bill, which had already been passed by the state senate. It will now almost certainly be signed into law by pro-abortion governor Gray Davis. [LifeSite, 20 August ] Members of the Australia's parliament have begun debating legislation to authorise and regulate destructive research on human embryos. The government has set aside two weeks for the debate, and legislators will be allowed a conscience vote. Seven of the nine speakers on the first day of the debate spoke in favour of the bill, which must be passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate before being presented to the governor general for Royal Assent. [AP, via Yahoo! News , and ABC News, 20 August; etc.] The US government has announced plans to promote so-called embryo adoption. The department of health and human services is following a mandate from Congress by distributing nearly $1 million for public awareness campaigns to promote the adoption of IVF embryos left over from fertility treatment. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has reacted cautiously to the news, fearing that too many couples may choose to put their spare embryos up for adoption rather than donating them for research. Kate Michelman, president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, said that use of the word "adoption" rather than "donation" could undermine legal abortion because it made it appear that embryos were children with rights. [AP, 20 August; via Northern Light ] Swedish scientists have successfully brought about a pregnancy in a mouse whose womb was transplanted from another mouse. The project was directed by Dr Mats Brännström of the Sahlgrenska Academy at Goteborg university. He hopes that the same technique could be used in human females who are infertile because their wombs have had to be removed. At present, the only way such women can have a child of their own is by conceiving through IVF and enlisting a surrogate mother. [BBC News online, 20 August ] The number of unborn children killed in registered abortions in South Australia has remained steady for the past six years. Figures released by the state parliament yesterday indicate that 5,571 abortions were performed in South Australia last year, eight more than in 2000. Almost 1,200 of these were performed on teenagers, although the highest abortion rate was among 20 to 24-year-olds. 38.8% of the abortions were performed on women who had previously had at least one other abortion. [The Advertiser, 21 August ]

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