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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 25 January 2002

25 January 2002

25 January 2002 The Roman Catholic bishops of Germany have condemned all research involving the destruction of human embryos, including research on embryonic stem cells imported from abroad, ahead of a vote on the subject next Wednesday in the German parliament. A statement by the bishops' permanent council stated: "The importation of embryonic stem cells accepts, in fact, the killing of people in the embryonic stage, and this is in fundamental opposition to Christian ethics." The destruction of embryos for research purposes is currently banned in Germany, but last year the governor of one German state authorised the importation of embryonic stem cells extracted in Israel, and the year before a group of scientists announced their intention to import an embryonic stem cell line from the USA. [EWTN News, 24 January ; also SPUC digests for 21 June 2000 and 6 June 2001 ] New research published in the UK has suggested that the unborn babies of people living near landfill sites are more likely to develop anomalies such as Down's syndrome and cleft palates. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine looked at those with and without developmental anomalies who lived near 23 landfill sites across Europe, and found that those who lived near the sites had a 40 percent higher risk of congenital chromosomal anomalies. Fresh data taken from a 1998 study also indicated a 33 percent increase in non-chromosomal anomalies, including neural tube defects [such as spina bifida] and cleft palates. [BBC News online, 25 January ] In the UK, unborn babies found to have these anomalies are usually aborted, and the abortions can take place up to birth. Two women who have first-hand experience of China's coercive population control policy are urging US President Bush to cut all American finding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Gao Xiao Duan used to be an administrator in a Chinese planned birth control office, while Ma Dong Fan claims that she was forced to have an abortion, was fitted with an abortifacient intra-uterine device without her knowledge, and was later forced to accept Norplant, an abortifacient birth control implant. The two women are now in the United States and revealed their experiences at a press conference organised by Concerned Women for America. China's population policy is supported by UNFPA. [US Newswire, 24 January; via Northern Light ] An official United Nations report contains an admission that legal abortions are "hazardous to women's health". In the initial report on Estonia prepared by the United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), one of the committee's 23 experts observes anonymously: "Aside from physical complications, termination of pregnancy could entail psychological problems. It could also lead to infertility." The admission has surprised many observers of CEDAW's activities because it usually adopts a strident pro-abortion position. [LifeSite, 24 January ] An American teenage model has won her campaign to be allowed to wear shirts bearing pro-life slogans at school after a law firm threatened to take the school to court for violating the constitution. Samantha Gallardo was denied permission by her high school in Littlerock, California, to wear clothes bearing messages such as "Abortion is killing" and "I'm Pro-Life". The pupil then approached the Thomas More Law Center in Michigan, which wrote to the school reminding the staff of Samantha's constitutional rights [of freedom of expression]. Samantha makes the shirts and distributes them among other students. [EWTN News, 24 January ]

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