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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 17 June 2002

17 June 2002

17 June 2002 A British consultant psychotherapist has expressed his amazement that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists does not have a policy of offering women psychological advice after abortions. Writing in today's Daily Telegraph newspaper, Dr K D Philips observes: "I see about one patient a month who is suffering from intractable guilt, self-denigration and anxiety as a result of an abortion, often years before. Often this is related not only to the lack of advice and preparation, but also to the inhumane and ill-considered treatment they have received at the hands of nursing and medical staff." [Daily Telegraph, 17 June] A representative of the Servites in Britain and Ireland has angrily rejected reports that Fr Patrick Ryall, the prior provincial, had apologised for the decision of Benburb Priory in Northern Ireland to host a pro-abortion conference run by the Women's Information Group (WIG). Fr Dermot MacNeice, parish priest of St Mary's Servite Priory in London, described the matter as a "non-issue" and insisted that members of the WIG were "good Catholic women". He accused SPUC and the Catholic Herald newspaper, which reported on the alleged apology, of misinformation. Meanwhile, SPUC Northern Ireland has learned that Georgie McCormack of the pro-abortion Family Planning Association used her workshop at the WIG conference to promote the abortifacient morning-after pill and explain how it could be obtained. Ms McCormack told the participants that, while the RU-486 abortion drug was not yet available in Northern Ireland, they were "working on that". [SPUC, 17 June] The Australian government will introduce federal legislation to govern research on human embryos within the next two weeks. It is reported that the legislation will stipulate a 15-year prison term for any scientist who attempts to make a human clone. Reports also suggest that the law will ban research on any embryo created after 5 April this year, establish a seven-member licensing committee to assess applications for destructive research on spare IVF embryos already in storage, ban the importation of cloned embryos, and prohibit the growing of human embryos outside a woman's body for more than 14 days. [The Age, 14 June ] The Roman Catholic bishops of Canada have presented their views on assisted reproduction to the House of Commons standing committee on health. Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Halifax and Dr Noël Simard, a Catholic ethicist, addressed the committee on behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. They insisted that all research on embryos should be prohibited and criticised various aspects of the Canadian government's draft legislation on assisted reproduction, such as the authorisation of sex selection for health reasons and the idea that parents have the right to donate their embryos. They also rejected the argument that surplus IVF embryos should be used for research on the basis that they were destined to die anyway, insisting that "there is good and meaning in their lives simply because they are intrinsically human ... known and loved by God." [LifeSite, 14 June ] The supreme court of the state of Washington has ordered the deaths of two frozen human embryos. The embryos, who are the product of Mr David Litowitz's sperm and two donated ova, are at the centre of a dispute between Mr Litowitz and his wife, Becky Litowitz, who are getting divorced. Mrs Litowitz asked for the embryos to be carried by a surrogate, but her husband refused. The supreme court justices have sided with the man and ordered the destruction of the embryos. [LifeSite, 14 June ]

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