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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 11 January 2002

11 January 2002

11 January 2002 Pope John Paul II identified the defence of human life as his top concern in a state of the world address given on Wednesday. In a speech to the Vatican diplomatic corps, the Pope outlined eight "great challenges lying before us" and asked the diplomats to bring them to the attention of the world's governments. The first of these was: "The defence of the sacredness of human life in all circumstances, especially in relation to the challenges posed by genetic manipulation". Second on the list was the promotion of the family as the basic unit of society. [LifeSite, 10 January ] A doctor who claims to have performed "tens of thousands of abortions" has told a court in Delaware that he had "no idea" how one of his abortions went so badly wrong that both the mother and her unborn child died. Dr Mohammad Imran is being sued by the family of Gracealynn T Harris, who was 18 weeks' pregnant at the time of the allegedly botched abortion. Under questioning, Dr Imran admitted disregarding technical bulletins and medical textbooks which outlined the accepted procedures for abortion and said: "A lot of these textbooks are written by academicians, people who don't work in the trenches, like myself." LifeSite of Canada observed: "As more and more cases of abortionists causing the deaths of their clients come to light, it becomes increasingly evident that women must be warned about this and other potential outcomes of the so-called 'safe and legal' procedure." [AP, via New Jersey online and LifeSite , 10 January] Research published in the United States suggests that chlorinated tap water can cause miscarriages and developmental anomalies in unborn children. New federal standards limiting the chlorine content in tap water came into effect across the United States on 1 January, but the Environmental Working Group and the Public Interest Research Groups claim that the revised limit is still too high. Their report suggests that it is not the chlorine itself which can harm unborn babies, but compounds called trihalomethanes which are formed when chlorine is mixed with organic matter such as runoff from lawns or farms. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9 January ] The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), the world's oldest pro-life campaigning organisation, was founded in London 35 years ago today. Dominic Baster, SPUC's international secretary, said that despite many setbacks over three and a half decades, there had also been many successes and achievements. He commented: "The work of SPUC in the UK and further afield has undoubtedly saved countless unborn lives, and the general population is now far better informed about the issue of abortion than was once the case. We look towards the future with hope and confidence for the defence of human life."

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