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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 31 July 2002

31 July 2002

31 July 2002 It is reported that the national governments of European Union countries are close to agreeing on a proposal which would postpone EU funding of destructive research on human embryos. The sixth framework programme for research, which is based on the Caudron report, constitutes the EU's research budget for the next four years. When the European parliament voted to adopt this programme in May, it included provision for EU money to be spent on embryo research. However, a number of national governments protested, and the EU council of ministers is now reported to be considering a Danish compromise which would block EU funding of research involving the destruction of embryos until at least the end of next year. An EU diplomat insisted that the so-called compromise entailed a postponement but not a moratorium on such research - despite the fact that it is illegal in at least four EU members states. [FT and SPUC Europe, 31 July] The release of the Scottish Executive's sexual health strategy, which will include reference to abortion and so-called emergency contraception, has been postponed indefinitely. The policy document was expected to be released last month, but critics are now suggesting that it will not be published until after the Scottish parliamentary elections next May. Linda Fabiani, a member of the Scottish parliament, accused the Executive of delaying publication of the strategy because it was afraid of "a public outcry prior to the election". [The Scotsman, 31 July ] Ian Murray, director of SPUC Scotland, commented: "The politicians know that most people in Scotland are very concerned about the promotion of abortion, especially among school children and teenagers. The influence of the pro-life lobby is growing, and the politicians are taking note of this." Public health officials in Alabama have published the draft text of the brochure which will be given to all women who request an abortion under the state's new informed consent law. The Woman's Right to Know Act stipulates that women who ask for an abortion must be given information on the procedure itself, the health risks, the alternatives and the development of the foetus at least 24 hours before the operation. The law also states that a doctor must carry out an ultrasound scan and offer the woman an opportunity to see her unborn child. The text of the brochure has been criticised by both pro-abortionists and pro-lifers for omitting or failing to emphasise certain statistics or issues. [Ledger-Enquirer, 29 July ] Officials in one of China's richest provinces have announced that fines payable for breaking strict population control laws are to rise by 400%. Couples who have an unauthorised second child in Guangdong province, situated in the southern-most part of China, will have to pay a fine equivalent to eight times their annual income. Unwaged peasants will pay an annual social levy. It is reported that population controllers in Guangdong province operate a regime of terror, forcing women to have abortions and often punishing offenders by demolishing their homes. [Daily Telegraph, 30 July] Reports from Denmark suggest that the country's abortion rate is at its lowest since abortion statistics were centralised in 1973. Statistics indicate that 1.25% of Danish women of childbearing age received abortions in 2000, a drop of 50% over 27 years. SPUC reacted to the figures with caution, and rejected assertions that the apparent decline in the number of abortions in Denmark was due to better access to birth control methods. An SPUC spokesman said: "On the face of it, a drop in abortions is to be welcomed, but not all countries gather abortion statistics reliably. UK figures are regarded as among the most reliable, and here promoting birth control has meant more abortion. Some countries conduct so-called menstrual extraction, which kills an unborn child but does not show up in the official figures. Moreover, some birth control methods cause abortion." [The Copenhagen Post, 26 July ; SPUC] A man in Pennsylvania has gone to court in a bid to prevent his child from being aborted. John Stacholus, 27, was granted an injunction by a county court on Monday preventing his ex-girlfriend, 22-year-old Tania Meyers, from aborting their 10-week-old unborn baby as planned yesterday. A further court hearing was planned for today. Mr Stacholus is also applying for legal custody of the unborn child, although the mother is claiming that an abortion is her right and has accused her ex-boyfriend of verbal and emotional abuse. [Citizens' Voice, 30 July ] A federal judge in Florida has thrown out the latest attempt to challenge "Choose Life" car number plates. A law passed in 1999 allowed individuals and groups to apply for speciality number plates bearing slogans and to allocate a proportion of the revenue from such plates to a certain cause, and the pro-life plate has raised more than $1 million for adoption initiatives. [CNSNews, 17 July ]

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