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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 14 January 2002

14 January 2002

14 January 2002 The government of Quebec has banned all destructive research involving human embryos. The new guidelines, announced by David Cliche, Quebec's minister for science and technology, apply to both publicly and privately funded research. They ban the destructive extraction of embryonic stem cells, all human cloning and the creation of animal-human hybrids. Mr Cliche said: "There is currently a debate about the possibility of allowing research on human stem cells taken from embryos that were left over from in vitro fertilisation. In Quebec ... as of now, it is forbidden." Gilles Grondin, president of Campaign Life Coalition Quebec, described the announcement as "the best pro-life news I've heard in 13 years". [LifeSite, 11 January ] Girls in France can now obtain the abortion-inducing morning-after pill from pharmacists free of charge and without parental agreement. A decree published in the French government's official journal last Thursday stated that all girls under the age of 18 were eligible to receive the drug without charge, although pharmacists should speak to each girl briefly to ensure that they knew how to take it properly. There appears to be no minimum age requirement. [AP, via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 January ] SPUC has published a new edition of its Teachers' notes on morning-after pills and is sending a copy to each religious education coordinator at every secondary school in the United Kingdom. The notes comprise seven topics each of which contains factual material for class discussion, research projects and essay work. John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, said: "Young people need to know about the dangers of morning-after pills, not least their capacity to cause abortion. The first edition of the notes was extremely well received and it was soon out of print. This new edition brings the notes up to date." A television programme promoting destructive research on cloned human embryos has been condemned by SPUC. How to build a human was broadcast last night on British national television and followed the [apparent] creation of cloned human embryos by Advanced Cell Technology of Massachusetts last October. SPUC spokesman Anthony Ozimic said: "Although several pro-cloning scientists were interviewed, no one against human cloning appeared. The case against human cloning was dismissed as 'strange', the personhood of the early embryo was denied, and ethical alternatives such as adult stem cell research were ignored. It would be most reprehensible if the BBC was acting as a mouthpiece for a British government still bruised from last year's parliamentary and legal battles on cloning." [BBC News online, 13 January ; SPUC, 14 January] The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is supporting a South African organisation which promotes abortion for children without the knowledge or consent of their parents. The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) has revealed that UNICEF provides "major funding" for LoveLife, a pro-abortion website for South African youngsters. The website tells girls: "It is your right to get an abortion. If people are unhelpful, don't get discouraged. Keep trying." Describing the abortion procedure as "a gentle suction", the website tells girls that they will "feel a sense of relief" after the abortion and that they should "celebrate together" with their boyfriend. [C-FAM Friday Fax, 11 January ] Nearly 30 prominent American pro-life leaders have co-signed a letter to President Bush in which they praise his opposition to human cloning and urge him to push for a complete ban. The Senate is currently considering a comprehensive ban on human cloning already passed by the House of Representatives. The letter concludes: "Mr President, we commend you for the moral leadership you have shown. We know that the enactment of a comprehensive ban on all human cloning will be a top domestic priority for your administration in the coming months, and we pledge our support in helping you achieve this goal." [Washington Times, 10 January; via Pro-Life Infonet] A pregnant woman and her unborn child have both survived a car accident in which the woman was impaled by a wooden stake. The stake pierced the 34-year-old woman through her shoulder and breast, but missed all her major organs and her child. The woman, who is eight months pregnant, underwent surgery and is now in a maternity unit in Devon, England. [Daily Telegraph, 14 January ]

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