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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 18 January 2002

18 January 2002

18 January 2002 The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has condemned a ruling by the English Court of Appeal which upholds flawed legislation on human cloning. Three judges ruled that cloned human embryos were governed by existing legislation. The decision overturns the victory by the Pro-Life Alliance on 15 November in the English High Court, which ruled that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 did not cover embryos created by techniques other than by fertilisation, such as cell nuclear replacement. SPUC spokesman Anthony Ozimic commented, "The Court of Appeal has interpreted the law in an alarmingly elastic way so as to allow destructive research on human beings created through cloning. Such shifting of the goalposts is unacceptable. Extending the definition of an embryo in the Act is a matter for Parliament, not for the courts." Mr Ozimic questioned aspects of the judgement. "Both the time limits and consent provisions for the use of embryos in the 1990 Act only apply to embryos created through fertilisation, not ones created through cloning. It appears that anyone who gives a blood sample could be cloned without their knowledge or consent, and their clone grown in the laboratory for many weeks or months".[BBC News online, 18 January ] Donations to the pro-life initiative of the late Cardinal Thomas Winning, archbishop of Glasgow, have grown substantially following his death last June. The initiative offers material support to pregnant women in difficult circumstances and is administered by the Sisters of the Gospel of Life, a new religious community founded by Roseann Reddy, formerly SPUC development officer. A spokesman for the Catholic Church was reported as saying: "For [Cardinal Winning], even one life saved would have been enough, but now, through the generosity of people in the aftermath of his death, many more lives will be saved and others transformed." [The Scotsman, 18 January] A nurse who ran an illegal abortion racket at her home has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison in Portugal. Maria do Ceu Ribeiro was found guilty of practising abortion and other related crimes. One woman upon whom Ribeiro had performed an abortion, as well as six other people involved in the illicit business, were fined. 19 others alleged to have been involved in the racket were acquitted. [BBC News online, 18 January ] Women from the Australian state of Tasmania were referred for abortions at taxpayers' expense during the period in which abortions by doctors resident in Tasmania were illegal. For several weeks last month, no abortions were performed by doctors resident in Tasmania following a complaint by a medical student that abortion was illegal under state law. The Tasmanian parliament passed emergency legislation just before Christmas to allow abortion. It is reported that the Tasmanian government referred 65 women for abortions in other Australian states at a total cost of AUS$35,000. [The Mercury, 18 January ]

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