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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 23 August 2002

23 August 2002

23 August 2002 Provisional figures released by the Office for National Statistics in England and Wales have indicated that 47,100 unborn children were killed in registered abortions during the first three months of this year. The number of abortions performed in the first quarter of 2002 was 800 fewer than in the first three months of last year, and 2,000 fewer than in the first three months of 2000. 900 abortions were performed on girls under 16, the legal age of consent, while 8,500 abortions were performed on girls aged 16 to 19. 94.7% of the abortions were performed on residents of England and Wales, and 1,689 abortions were performed on residents of the Irish Republic, seven fewer than in the same period last year. This represents the first quarter in which the Irish abortion total has fallen since the late 1990s. [ONS Autumn Health Statistics Quarterly ; Irish Independent, 23 August] The Australian justice and customs minister has been reported as warning that the promoters of specially designed suicide bags may be prosecuted. Mr. Chris Ellison said that "aiding, abetting or inciting the killing of a person is a criminal offence in all states and territories" of Australia. Dr Philip Nitschke, a prominent Australian campaigner for euthanasia, has started to distribute the bags in the state of Queensland [see news digest for 21 August ]. Senator Eric Abetz, also a government minister, said that Dr Nitschke's "continued push for the deliberate deaths of Australians is both wrong and callous". [CNSNews, 21 August ] The Vatican has reiterated its opposition to population control in the run-up to next week's United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development. A new book on the environment written by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace quotes a 1994 letter from Pope John Paul II to the then head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in which he stated: "In defence of the human person, the Church stands opposed to the imposition of limits on family size." UNFPA has recently been found to be complicit in coercive population control programmes in China and Peru. [LifeSite, 22 August ; John Paul II's 1994 letter ] US scientists have grown cartilage-like tissue from stem cells of adult goats in laboratory experiments. The team at John Hopkins University led by Professor Jennifer Elisseeff said that the research had the potential to give human patients living tissue rather than metal or plastic to replace injured or diseased bone or cartilage. Future patients may be able to donate their own stem cells prior to the procedure, reducing the likelihood of infection and tissue rejection. The development is the latest advance in adult stem cell technology, which is an ethical alternative to destructive research on human embryos. [AScribe Newswire 20 August ] Lawyers in Florida have claimed that a law passed last October which requires women to submit details of their sex lives before giving a child up for adoption is encouraging more women to have abortions. Charlotte Danciu, a lawyer who is representing six women who are challenging the law, claims that as many as 15 of her clients decided to have abortions rather than put their babies up for adoption and face the public humiliation of revealing such personal details. There were between 5,000 and 7,000 adoptions in Florida each year before the law was passed, but reports suggest that adoption rates have now fallen significantly. [National Post, 23 August ]

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