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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 3 July 2002

3 July 2002

3 July 2002 The European parliament passed the pro-abortion Van Lancker report today in Strasbourg by 280 votes to 240, with 28 abstentions. The report, which was drawn up by the European parliament's women's rights committee, recommends the legalisation of abortion and the easy availability of the abortifacient morning-after pill in all EU member states and applicant countries. MEPs passed an amendment tabled by the European People's Party which somewhat mitigated the worst elements of the report by stating that "reproductive health falls within the Member States' sphere of competence", but other amendments to improve the text were rejected. Dominic Baster, SPUC's international secretary, commented: "This is a sad day for all those who seek a Europe based on respect for human rights, ethical principles and democracy." Dana Rosemary Scallon, the pro-life Irish MEP, said: "This has highlighted the agenda of the women's rights committee, which is willing to trample all over the principle of subsidiarity, facilitated by the parliament's Council of Presidents which should never have allowed this report to be authorised in the first place." [SPUC, 3 July ] Unionists and Nationalists in the Northern Ireland Assembly have agreed on the need to protect unborn children. In a debate yesterday on the Commissioner for Young People Bill, Mrs Iris Robinson of the Democratic Unionist Party insisted that unborn children had rights, and that therefore "the commissioner's remit should include all children in Northern Ireland from before birth to the age of 18". A number of other members agreed, including Dr Joe Hendron of the nationalist SDLP who said: " I agree with Mrs Iris Robinson about the protection of the child in utero... after conception a baby is genetically complete. Nutrition is the only extra thing needed to aid development.... The whole question of human rights, the rights of the child and the unborn child and the participation of young children in matters that concern them are paramount." [NI Assembly Hansard, 2 July ] American researchers studying the effects of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act have found that nearly 90% of those who ask for assisted suicide later change their mind. Dr Susan Tolle, director of the Center for Ethics in Health Care at Oregon Health and Science University, said that her team's findings suggested that most patients requesting assisted suicide were actually afraid of pain among other issues and needed to be reassured. Oregon is the only American state to have legalised assisted suicide. [ABC News, 2 July ] The pro-abortion Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) has called for the provision of free aftercare for Irish women who have had abortions in Britain. The IFPA has recommended to Ireland's Crisis Pregnancy Agency that a directory of general practitioners and family planning clinics should be set up where women could receive non-judgmental care after arriving back from having an abortion in Britain. [The Irish Examiner, 3 July] The IFPA is a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world's largest promoter and provider of abortions. Pro-life groups in Western Australia have described the government's review of the state's four-year-old abortion law as an "exercise in concealment". The review concluded that there was no need for legislative changes, although it made 23 recommendations in areas such as the administration of abortion support. Dr Ted Watt, spokesman for the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life, complained that the names of those who had conducted the review had been kept secret, as had the names of the doctors on the panel which had the power to authorise abortions after 20 weeks' gestation. [The West Australian, 1 July ]

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