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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 13 February 2002

13 February 2002

13 February 2002 SPUC's legal challenge to sales of the morning-after pill from pharmacists in the UK is continuing today in the High Court. The judicial review before Mr Justice Munby is now expected to run into tomorrow. Yesterday, Mr Richard Gordon QC, representing SPUC, set out the argument that one of the purposes of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act was to protect unborn human life at all stages of development. The act prohibits the supply of any "poison or other noxious thing" with intent to cause a miscarriage. A campaign has been launched to legalise abortion in Nepal. A government bill to legalise abortion was passed by the lower house of the country's parliament during the last legislative session, but the measure was rejected by the upper house. Participants at a so-called national convention on solidarity for gender equality have urged the government to make another attempt to legalise abortion and the country's minister for women, children and social welfare responded by saying that a bill would soon be introduced to guarantee freedom and equality to women in all respects. It is unclear from the report if this would include the legalisation of abortion. [The Times of India, 13 February ] Mr Tony Blair, the British prime minister, has opened a new centre for research into genetics and fertility costing £13 million. The Wolfson and Weston Research Centre for Family Health, west London, is part of Imperial College, London, and was the brainchild of Lord Winston, the pro-abortion IVF pioneer. At the launch, Mr Blair said: "Various branches of this science of genetics are going to change the way we live. For this country to be at the forefront of scientific research into this area, I think, is immensely important. We are going to march towards these new frontiers of science, assuredly applying our moral judgement, but not afraid to discover the truth in all its various aspects and how we can use it for the benefit of human kind." [Ananova, 12 February ] Britain is the first country to have authorised the creation and destruction of cloned human embryos for medical research. The parliament of the Slovak Republic, which is hoping to become a full member of the European Union, has adopted a declaration affirming national sovereignty in cultural and ethical issues. The declaration of the Slovak national council, dated the 28th of last month, states that "the protection of life and the dignity of [the] human being from the (sic) conception to death" forms part of "the basis of society" in line with the "traditional values and ethical principles of the (sic) European civilisation". Accordingly, the declaration affirms that these issues must remain "in the exclusive power of the member states and respected by the European Union". Concerns have been raised that the European Union may in time try to impose uniform ethical standards which do not respect the dignity and inviolability of human life. [With thanks to Jana Tutkova, EYA Slovakia] Professor Panayiotis Zavos, the controversial fertility expert in Kentucky, has announced that he will begin attempts to make a woman pregnant with a cloned unborn child next month. Professor Zavos claims to have selected 10 couples to undergo the trials initially, although he expects the failure rate to be so high that he will have to call upon dozens of other couples before the first healthy cloned child is born. [The Boston Globe, 12 February ] Five members of the European parliament have tabled a written declaration calling for a ban on so-called wrongful birth lawsuits in the European Union. Such lawsuits aim to win compensation for disabled people or their families for the failure of doctors to recommend an abortion. The declaration states: "All forms of discrimination based on assumptions of lower quality of life of disabled persons are unacceptable; it is necessary to reaffirm the value of human diversity." The deadline for MEPs to sign the declaration is the 28th of this month, and pro-lifers in Europe are being urged to contact their MEPs ahead of this date to urge support for the declaration. [EWTN News , 8 February; Euro-Fam ]

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