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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 8 August 2002

8 August 2002

8 August 2002 Marie Stopes International (MSI), a worldwide provider and promoter of abortion, is opening clinics in Afghanistan. The main MSI clinic will be located in a busy part of the capital Kabul and will provide so-called reproductive healthcare, counselling and education, as well as training for other reproductive healthcare providers. In addition, MSI will work in conjunction with the United Nations to open 15 other mini-clinics around the city which will refer women to the main clinic for "specialist services". [Discovery Health News, 8 August] If the MSI clinics provide surgical abortions or abortifacient drugs and devices, they would be flouting Afghan law which prohibits morning-after pills and permits abortions only under very strict--practically impossible--conditions. Violations carry with them a prison sentence of seven years. A prominent British Muslim has been presenting the pro-life message to the people of Lebanon in the Middle East. Dr A Majid Katme, a spokesman for the Islamic Medical Association on medical ethics, visited a number of towns in Lebanon, speaking on radio programmes and satellite channels and in town halls on abortion, human cloning and anti-life pressures at the United Nations. Dr Katme told SPUC: "During my visit to Lebanon I was very moved by the enthusiastic reception of the Lebanese public to the vital pro-life message, and many radio and other organisations asked me to stay longer to take the message to more towns and cities. No doubt there is great potential for the pro-life cause among the Arab Muslim and Christian communities." A spokesman for New Zealand's national police has said that Dr Philip Nitschke, the Australian pro-euthanasia campaigner, will probably be allowed to distribute suicide bags in the country. Dr Nitschke plans to bring the bags, which have an elasticised opening to facilitate suicide, to New Zealand later this year. A spokesman at the Police National Headquarters said that handing out the bags would probably not constitute the offence of aiding and abetting suicide, but that the police would have to investigate if an official complaint was made. [Stuff NZ News, 8 August ] Publicly funded researchers in the US are circumventing the ban on destructive embryonic stem cell research by using private money, according to a report in the New York Times. President Bush blocked the use of federal funds for research involving the destruction of any more embryos a year ago this week, but destructive embryo research remains legal and so researchers can continue to destroy embryos as long as they do so with private money. However, reports suggest that one effect of President Bush's ruling over the past year has been that American scientists have largely avoided the area of embryonic stem cell research altogether. [New York Times, 6 August] An Australian company intends to use tissue from aborted foetuses in the commercial production of embryonic stem cells for export next year. Robert Klupacs, chief executive of ES Cell International based in Melbourne, said that he was unaware of any legal impediment to the plan. The company is already exporting embryonic stem cells cultured on tissue from mouse foetuses, but Mr Klupacs envisages a great demand for stem cells cultured on human foetal tissue and hopes to perfect a technique whereby billions of stem cells can be produced in fermentation tanks. [Herald Sun, 8 August ]

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