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News, 15 January 2002

15 January 2002

15 January 2002 Three people who played significant roles in the legalisation of abortion in the United States have come together in a major pro-life advertising campaign. Norma McCorvey ('Jane Roe' in the Roe v Wade case which declared a constitutional right to abortion), Sandra Cano ('Mary Doe' in Doe v Bolton which legalised abortion up to birth) and Dr Bernard Nathanson (co-founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League) are participating in "Shake the Nation Back to Life" organised by a coalition of 32 US pro-life groups. Janet Folger, one of those behind the campaign, said: "Most Americans have no idea that three of the abortion industry's superstars are now solidly pro-life. But they'll see the truth for themselves now." [PR Newswire, 14 January; via Northern Light ] Abortions will resume in Tasmania by the end of this week. No abortions have been performed by doctors resident in Tasmania since a medical student complained to police last month that the procedures were against the law. State legislators rushed through a law to permit abortion just before Christmas and guidelines for its implementation have been finalised. Pro-abortionists are now arguing that abortion should be removed from the Tasmanian criminal code. [The Mercury, 14 January ] Pro-life campaigners in the USA have been encouraged by President Bush's decision to put federal funding for the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on hold. Congress had allocated $34 million to the UNFPA in its foreign aid budget but, when the President signed the bill last week, he noted in an accompanying statement that it gave him "additional discretion to determine the appropriate level of funding for the United Nations Population Fund". Pro-lifers are hoping that President Bush will cut all funding for the UNFPA because it promotes abortion. [LifeSite, 14 January ; AP, via Nando Times, 11 January ] A Swedish study has suggested that women who take folic acid supplements when planning a pregnancy may be twice as likely to give birth to twins. A team at the Tornblad Institute, Lund, examined the records of 2,569 women who had taken folic acid supplements since 1994 and found that 2.8% of them had twins, compared to the Swedish average of 1.5%. One suggested reason for the difference was that folic acid may prevent the spontaneous abortion of early twin foetuses. Folic acid supplements are recommended for women planning a pregnancy because they reduce the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in unborn children. Nine out of 10 women in the UK who discover that their unborn child has a neural tube defect decide to have an abortion. [The Times, 15 January ] An advisory committee established to review California's ban on human cloning has unanimously recommended the authorisation of destructive research on cloned human embryos. California's legislature banned all human cloning for five years in 1997, but established a committee to review the law after this period had expired. The committee's report, delivered last weekend, recommends that the ban on cloning for reproductive purposes should remain, but that the creation and destruction of human clones before the appearance of the primitive streak [about 15 days after fertilisation] should be permitted for research purposes. The report was due to be considered by legislators for the first time today. [USA Today, 14 January; via Pro-Life Infonet ] Rt Rev Mario Conti, Bishop of Aberdeen, Scotland, is to succeed the late Cardinal Thomas Winning as Archbishop of Glasgow. [Catholic media office, 15 January ] Bishop Conti is a member of the Catholic Bishops' Joint Bioethics Committee of which the cardinal was chairman. Ian Murray, director of SPUC Scotland, welcomed Bishop Conti's appointment, saying: "He is a great friend of the pro-life movement and we shall remember him in our prayers as he undertakes this heavy responsibility."

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