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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 26 June 2002

26 June 2002

26 June 2002 France's highest court ruled yesterday that an unborn child does not have the legal status of a living person. Ms Sophie Potonet sued medical staff for the death of her child in labour in 1991 and a lower court found the doctor and midwife involved guilty of manslaughter. The Cour de Cassation has now overturned this judgement and stated that "the principle behind the legality of crimes and punishment ... is opposed to the possibility of trial for manslaughter in the case of a child not born alive". [Reuters, 25 June ] Germany's state and federal health ministers agreed last Friday to reject moves towards decriminalising active euthanasia. Germans can already draw up so-called living wills to request the discontinuation of life-sustaining treatment and the country's hospice foundation has launched a publicity campaign about this. Meanwhile, an appeals court in Italy has published the full text of a ruling made in April clearing of murder a man who switched off his wife's ventilator. The court ruled that the link between the disconnection of the ventilator and the woman's death could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Mr Enzo Forzatti was originally sentenced to six and a half years in prison for 'voluntary murder'. [Reuters, 21 and 25 June] The full European parliament meeting in Strasbourg will vote on the pro-abortion Van Lancker report tomorrow-week (4 July) at noon. The report deals with sexual and reproductive rights and was adopted by the parliament's women's commission on the fourth of this month. In its present form, the report urges legal abortion and easy availability of abortifacient morning-after pills in all European Union countries and nations seeking membership, although criminal law and public health services are outside the EU's competency. European pro-lifers are being urged to contact their MEPs ahead of the vote. [Euro-Fam , 25 June, and SPUC Brussels] A pro-cloning scientist in the United States has claimed that research on human cloning is well under way in China. Dr Xiangzhang Yang of the University of Connecticut claims to have been briefed on human cloning work in "half a dozen labs" in China, all of which have conducted numerous experiments on human embryos. [LifeSite, 25 June ] A Catholic diocese in southern Texas has banned two political candidates from speaking on Catholic premises because they support access to abortion. Mr Tony Sanchez, the Democratic candidate for state governor, and Mr John Sharp, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, both claim to be Catholic and anti-abortion, but believe that abortion is a personal issue which should not be legally restricted. Bishop Edmund Carmody of Corpus Christi said: "That's being schizophrenic about it. That's saying, 'In my home I respect life, but when I'm in public office, I'm going to go with the pack.'" [American-Statesman, 25 June ]

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