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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 2 July 2002

2 July 2002

2 July 2002 The Catholic bishops of Malta, a strongly pro-life country which is seeking full membership of the European Union, have condemned pro-abortion language in the Van Lancker report. In its present form, the report recommends the legalisation of abortion in all EU member states and candidate countries. It is expected that members of the European parliament will vote on the report tomorrow at noon. A statement released by the Maltese bishops reads: "The Catholic Church, that defends the life of man from its inception, condemns abortion with all its might and without any exceptions. Hence, we the bishops urge all the members of the Church in Malta to join us in our prayers so that the Lord helps the members of the European parliament in voting against the proposal that stands for their approval." [Malta Media, 26 June ] The government of the Netherlands has granted a licence to a controversial floating abortion clinic. The Women on Waves Foundation, headed by Rebecca Gomperts, a prominent Dutch abortionist, will be allowed to provide the RU-486 abortion drug to kill unborn children of up to six weeks' gestation on the Aurora. Els Borst, the Dutch health minister, said that the decision was in line with government policy of promoting women's sexual independence. The Women on Waves foundation, which aims to offer abortions to women in countries with pro-life laws, will now seek further approval to carry out abortions up to three months into pregnancy. The Aurora docked in Ireland last year amid great publicity, but could not offer abortions at that time because it lacked a Dutch licence. [BBC News online and The Guardian , 2 July] The abortifacient morning-after pill became available in Australia for the first time yesterday. The Postinor-2 morning-after pill will only be available on prescription, and Schering, its distributor, has stated that it has no intention of applying for its reclassification in Australia as a drug available from pharmacists. In marked contrast to its stated position in the UK, a Schering spokesman in Australia said: "It is only to be used as an emergency contraceptive and one of the reasons it is available on prescription only is so doctors can regulate how patients use it." Previously, doctors in Australia had prescribed multiple doses of the conventional contraceptive pill to serve the purpose of so-called emergency contraception. [The Australian, 1 July ; SPUC] Fertility researchers have suggested that women who suffer repeated and unexplained miscarriages could have a better chance of keeping their unborn child if they resorted to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Carmen Rubio of the Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad in Valencia, Spain, told the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Vienna that non-inherited chromosomal anomalies were a common cause of miscarriage, but that embryos with such anomalies could be screened out by using PGD. She said that "only the normal embryos" would be transferred into the woman, increasing the chances of successful implantation. [BBC News online, 1 July ] Those embryos found to be "abnormal" would be destroyed. A tribal chief in Nigeria, western Africa, has condemned the introduction of sex education into schools, which he sees as a tactical way of legalising abortion. Chief Okunbowu Akpata of the Kingdom of Benin, now in southern Nigeria, practises traditional religion but sees opposition to abortion as a concern he shares in common with Christians and Muslims. He said: "No religion will ever tolerate this ... These things we are talking of are inimical to our culture and I am sure nobody will agree to it." [AllAfrica.com, via Northern Light, 1 July ; etc.] A law which extends the scope of homicide to unborn children from the moment of conception came into effect in Idaho yesterday. The measure, known as Noah's Law after a unborn baby named Noah who was killed when his 16-year-old mother was violently attacked, extends the crimes of murder, manslaughter and aggravated battery to all unborn children - including embryos and zygotes. [The Spokesman-Review, 30 June ]

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