News, 4 December 2002
4 December 2002
4 December 2002 The Irish government has re-affirmed its commitment to fund the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In response to an attack by the Irish Family Planning Association on Dana Rosemary Scallon for her campaign against unconstitutional Irish funding of abortions overseas [see yesterday's digest ], Mr Tom Kitt, minister of state for foreign affairs, promised that the Irish Republic's contribution to the UNFPA in the coming year would equal or surpass the 1.84 million euro which Ireland gave to the UNFPA this year. [Irish Independent, 4 December] The government of Peru is urging the British government to amend a proposed grant for reproductive healthcare so that it complies with Peru's national laws and government priorities. Prime Minister Luis Solari denied media reports that his government had rejected a proposed grant from Britain's department for international development [see digest for 26 November ], but insisted that Peru would not accept the imposition of health policies by donor countries. It is reported that the British government intended to fund reproductive health projects in Peru through a new independent organisation which would run in parallel to the Peruvian health ministry, and that at least four of the five groups which would have overseen the projects are known to promote the abortifacient morning-after pill in contravention of Peru's pro-life constitution. [LifeSite, 3 December ] The judicial review of the British fertility regulator's authority to license the creation of so-called designer babies concluded yesterday, and judgement is due to be given before Christmas. The legal challenge, brought by Josephine Quintavalle on behalf of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) was heard by Mr Justice Maurice Kay in the high court in London. The HFEA's barrister acknowledged that the implication of their case was that the HFEA had the power to make all decisions in the area of reproduction, even with regard to embryo selection on the grounds of sex or appearance, but Josephine Quintavalle noted the "frightening implications of this statement" since the HFEA was an un-elected body. [CORE, 4 December] The vote in the European parliament's development committee on the Sandbæk report (the blueprint for the European Union's new international aid regulation) has been postponed for a third time. The vote had been scheduled for 2 December, but has now been re-scheduled for 17 December. The latest delay has arisen because the EU's Council of Ministers has been unable to reach agreement on the most controversial aspects of the new regulation, specifically whether it should allow funding for abortions in developing countries. EU officials had hoped that the Council of Ministers and members of the European parliament could agree on the text of the regulation so that the process of finalising it could be fast-tracked, but pro-lifers are standing firm in resisting any agreement which would include a provision for abortion funding. [Euro-Fam and SPUC, 3 December] A second trial involving the use of tissue from aborted foetuses to treat Parkinson's disease has had the same catastrophic results for patients as another trial last year [see digest for 8 March 2001 ]. In the latest trial at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, 13 of the 23 patients with Parkinson's disease who received transplants of aborted foetal tissue developed severe and uncontrollable movements. It is reported that the results of the trial will come as a major disappointment to proponents and donors of such research, such as the actor Michael J Fox. [LifeSite, 3 December ] A vote in the Australian senate on a bill to authorise and regulate destructive research on human embryos has been delayed again as heated debate on the legislation continues. The bill, which was approved by the lower house of parliament in September, would allow scientists to experiment on about 70,000 spare IVF embryos currently in frozen storage across the country. Senators are considering over 50 proposed amendments to the bill, and have been given the freedom to vote according to conscience. [Reuters, 2 December ] A religious adviser to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the largest abortion provider in the US, has claimed that Jesus Christ supported abortion. Rev Mark Bigelow, a protestant pastor and a member of Planned Parenthood's clergy advisory board, complained in writing to the presenter of a programme on the Fox News Network about his observation during an item on Planned Parenthood's "Choice on Earth" greeting cards that Jesus was not pro-choice. Rev Bigelow wrote: "...one thing I know from the Bible is that Jesus was not against women having a choice in continuing a pregnancy. Jesus was for peace on earth... and choice on earth." [CNSNews, 4 December ] A theological adviser to SPUC rejected the pastor's comments as "complete nonsense" and observed that they were wholly flawed from an exegetical, theological and historical perspective.