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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 17 December 2002

17 December 2002

17 December 2002 An Italian public prosecutor has opened an investigation into plans to test the RU-486 abortion drug regimen at the Sant'Anna hospital in Turin. Italy is one of the few European countries not to have licensed RU-486, and news of plans to test the drug on 400 women in Turin met with widespread condemnation earlier this year [see digest for 30 October ]. Prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello is now examining whether the protocol authorising the trial to proceed contravenes Italian law which requires that abortions are performed in a hospital or health clinic. Abortion has been legal in Italy since 1978 and was backed in a referendum in 1981. More abortions are performed at the Sant'Anna hospital than anywhere else in the country. [Reuters, 16 December ] American and Asian pro-life groups have applauded the firm stance against abortion being adopted by the US delegation at the UN Asian and Pacific population conference in Thailand. Andrew Kong of Celebration of Life in Singapore said: "It is good to see a large and powerful nation like the US exercising moral leadership in these times when the world is blinded by a materialistic and hedonistic culture of death." Meanwhile, Scott Weinberg at the Population Research Institute in the US said that the US delegation had been "courageous and heroic" in the face of the international pro-abortion community. [CNS News and Crosswalk , 17 December] New Jersey's state senate has passed a bill to promote destructive embryonic stem cell research. The legislation promotes research on unused IVF embryos as well as on cloned embryos. Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life condemned the legislators for acting "irresponsibly to create a foul climate where ghoulish human experimentation and organ harvesting will be performed and human embryo and foetal farms will flourish throughout our state". [NJRL, 16 December; via Pro-Life Infonet ] California is the only state to have passed a law to promote stem cell research on embryos, but legislators in Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, as well as in New Jersey, are considering similar measures in direct contradiction of the US federal government's policy. A Canadian government-backed bill to regulate in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and destructive research on human embryos has been passed by the House of Commons health committee. The committee amended the assisted reproduction bill to ensure that IVF treatment would be available to all women, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. The full House of Commons will now debate the bill at the third and final reading after it reconvenes in February, and several more amendments are expected to be tabled. [LifeSite, 16 December ] A study published by a pro-abortion institute which claims that use of the abortifacient morning-after pill has prevented thousands of unwanted pregnancies has received widespread media coverage in the US. The pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute claims that morning-after pills prevented as many as 51,000 pregnancies in 2000 and may have accounted for as much as 43% of the decline in the number of recorded abortions between 1994 and 2000. Pro-lifers have pointed out that the morning-after pill causes rather than averts abortions because it can work by preventing the implantation of a newly conceived embryo in his or her mother's womb. [USA Today and Knight Ridder Newspapers , 16 December]

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