News, 9 August 2002
9 August 2002
9 August 2002 Official figures released today by the Japanese health ministry indicate that the number of abortions performed on teenagers has risen by 178% in six years. A total of 341,588 unborn children were killed in registered abortions in Japan last year, 0.1% more than in 2000. However, 46,511 of these were performed on women and girls aged 19 or under, compared to 44,477 in 2000 and 26,117 in 1995. [Reuters, 9 August ] Abortion is legal for social and economic reasons up to the 24th week of pregnancy in Japan. A Chinese news service has reported that 60 members of the Philippines' national legislature have called on the government to establish a population management programme ensuring full respect for "reproductive rights". The lawmakers complained that the alleged population boom in the Philippines was pushing more people below the poverty line. [Xinhua News Agency, 8 August ] On coming to power, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines signalled her intention to pursue population policies in line with her Catholic faith. Workers for the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund in Manila have been outraged by the president's refusal to promote abortifacient birth control or condoms. [See digest for 6 February 2001 ] The British fertility clinic where six embryos at the centre of a custody battle are being stored has agreed not to destroy them for the time being. Natallie Evans and her ex-fiancé Howard Johnston are the parents of six embryos created through IVF last year, but Mr Johnston is insisting on their destruction unless his former partner signs a contract promising not to name him as the father or claim any maintenance money [see digest for 2 August ]. Miss Evans had been ready to seek a high court injunction to prevent the embryos from being destroyed next Monday, but she now hopes to meet with her former partner to discuss the matter. [BBC News online, 2 and 8 August ] It is reported that an optional protocol to the United Nations convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW) will expand the powers of the pro-abortion CEDAW committee to investigate and criticise countries with pro-life laws. The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam) reports that meetings of the CEDAW committee currently underway at the UN in New York are clearly taking the committee's own pro-abortion interpretations of CEDAW as authoritative. C-Fam notes that the CEDAW committee not only promotes "the right to abortion-on-demand, it also holds that states should pay for abortions, even pay for transportation to abortion clinics". [C-Fam Friday Fax, 9 August ] Researchers have found that stem cells extracted from a patient's own bone marrow and injected into the the leg muscles can convert into new blood vessels and treat various circulatory problems. The findings by scientists at three Japanese universities, and reported in The Lancet medical journal, could offer hope to millions of people who suffer pain in their limbs due to clogged arteries. [AP, 8 August; via Pro-Life Infonet ] This development provides yet more evidence of the potential of adult stem cell technology as an ethical alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells and so-called therapeutic cloning.