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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 7 August 2002

7 August 2002

7 August 2002 SPUC has expressed sympathy and condolences to the British prime minister and his wife after their unborn child died in a miscarriage. It is understood that Mrs Cherie Blair, who is 47, had known that she was pregnant. She is now recovering at Chequers, the prime minister's official country residence. [BBC News online and SPUC, 7 August] A doctor is being questioned by police in Egypt on suspicion of performing illegal abortions after his employees found the bodies of 16 foetuses in his refuse. Dr Abdel Mohsen Ibrahim, aged 58, claims that he obtained the foetuses legally for the purposes of scientific research, but the police doubt that he needed them for this because he is an osteopath. [AFP, 6 August; via Pro-Life E-News] Abortion is only permitted in Egypt to save the mother's life. Tanya Meyers, the American woman who was prevented from having an abortion last week after her ex-boyfriend obtained an injunction, suffered a miscarriage hours after another judge dissolved the injunction on Monday. John Stachokus, the unborn child's father, had signalled his intention to mount an appeal against the judge's decision to allow the abortion to proceed. [Philadelphia Inquirer, 6 August ; Seattle Times online, 7 August ] Scientists in Sydney, Australia, have revealed that they are already using aborted foetuses in research. Claims by Professor Alan Trounson that government legislation to regulate destructive embryonic stem cell research will lead to the use of tissue from aborted babies has caused controversy in Australia [see Monday's and yesterday's digests]. However, Professor Bernie Tuch, director of the pancreas transplant unit at the Prince of Wales hospital in Sydney, has now revealed that his team began to use human foetuses in the culture of embryonic stem cells several months ago. It is reported that Australian researchers have been using human foetal tissue for decades. [Sydney Morning Herald, 7 August ] A study published in Thailand has recommended the legalisation of abortion on the basis that 45% of women who seek [illegal] abortions do so for lack of money. However, pro-life feminists have suggested that the solution is not the legalisation of abortion but, rather, the provision of basic resources for women. Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, commented: "Financial issues are health issues, and education issues are life and death issues. The question is, do we believe women deserve better? Or will abortion advocates settle for the status quo?" [Bangkok Post, 1 August; via Pro-Life Infonet ] The leader of the Knights of Columbus, the largest Catholic lay organisation in the United States, has urged all Catholics to vote pro-life in this year's congressional elections. Supreme Knight Carl A Anderson, who is also a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told the organisation's annual meeting in California that Catholics had a duty to elect a senate that would confirm federal judges and Supreme Court justices who would then overturn Roe v Wade - the 1973 US Supreme Court decision that declared a constitutional right to abortion. [Pro-Life Infonet , 6 August] A community health plan in California is to pay the consultation fees charged by pharmacists when they provide the abortifacient morning-after pill in a bid to increase use of the drug. The San Francisco Health Plan, which receives state funding, will provide the $20 consultation fee in addition to the $30 charge for the pills themselves. The morning-after pill is available from pharmacists without the need for a prescription in California. [The Examiner, 7 August ]

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