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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 19 July 2002

19 July 2002

19 July 2002 Singapore is to become the second country in the world, after the UK, to introduce regulations authorising the creation of cloned human beings for research purposes. Tony Tan, Singapore's deputy prime minister, said yesterday that the government had approved a set of recommendations submitted by a bioethics advisory panel last month [see digest for 8 July]. The new regulations, which have been modelled on those adopted in Britain, will allow scientists to extract stem cells from cloned embryos as part of research projects which have "strong scientific merit" or "potential medical benefit". Researchers will be allowed to keep cloned embryos alive for 14 days, after which time the embryos must be killed. Catholic and Protestant groups in Singapore have criticised the new regulations on the basis that the human embryo is a human being from the moment of his or her creation. Mr Tan said that no-one with conscientious objections would be compelled to take part in embryonic stem cell research. [CNN, 18 July ] News that prescriptions of the abortifacient morning-after pill to girls under the age of 16 in England and Wales rose by 284% between 1992 and 2000 has been welcomed as a "step forward" by Britain's largest private abortion provider. A spokesman for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said: "Increased use of emergency contraception among young people should be seen as a step forward rather than a cause for concern ... For those young people who are having sex, contraceptive use shows a mature and responsible approach." [ePolitix, 18 July ] The legal age of consent for sex in Britain is 16. The US Senate yesterday passed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act by unanimous consent. The legislation gives all babies who are born alive full legal rights under federal law, even if they have survived a botched abortion. It is the first pro-life measure to have been passed by the Senate since Tom Daschle, the pro-abortion Democrat senator, became the majority leader last year. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives in March, and will now be sent to President Bush, who has already signalled his strong support for it. [AP and NRL, 18 July; via Pro-Life Infonet ] A coalition of feminist groups in the United States has launched a campaign to dispel the commonly made link between feminism and pro-abortionism. The Women Deserve Better coalition is planning a series of events leading up to the 30th anniversary of Roe v Wade [the US Supreme Court decision that declared a constitutional right to abortion] next January. Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life of America, one of the coalition partners, said: "40 million abortions are a reflection that we have failed women and [that] women have settled for less. It is time for us to systematically eliminate the coercive factors that drive women to abortion." [CNSNews, 18 July ] It is reported that the judiciary committee of the US House of Representatives has approved new legislation to ban partial-birth abortions by 20 votes to 8. Republican congressman Steve Chabot, the bill's sponsor, claims that it could withstand a constitutional challenge, but Congressman John Conyers, a Democrat member of the committee, said that the measure showed "complete disregard" for the US Supreme Court's decision in 2000 to strike down a ban on partial-birth abortions passed in Nebraska. [USA Today, 17 July ] A family planning clinic in Maine is giving away 1,000 packs containing abortifacient morning-after pills this week. Sara Hayes, clinical director of Tri-County Health Services, said: "Emergency contraception makes such good sense and it can make a huge difference. These pills are for women of all ages and from all walks of life. They are so much better than crossing your fingers." The Maine Bureau of Health supports the initiative as an opportunity "to give women more control over their bodies", but the Christian Civic League of Maine has condemned the availability of the drug because it can cause an early abortion. [Kennebec Journal&Morning Sentinel, 18 July ]

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