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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 27 June 2002

27 June 2002

27 June 2002 The Scottish Executive is considering proposals to allow school nurses to prescribe the abortifacient morning-after pill to pupils of any age. A spokesman for the executive, which exercises devolved governmental powers in Scotland, confirmed that plans to allow nurses to prescribe a range of medications would apply to the morning-after pill. The Lothian NHS board, which has responsibility for Edinburgh, said that, while there were no immediate plans to make the drug available to school pupils if the proposals were adopted, the option would be considered. Figures have indicated that, in the year following the reclassification of the morning-after pill as a drug available from pharmacists throughout the UK on 1 January 2001, use of the drug in Scotland increased by 20%. [Edinburgh Evening News, 26 June] Politicians from countries hoping to join the European Union are concerned that anti-life recommendations in a report on which the European parliament will vote in a week's time could undermine their sovereignty, culture and laws. The current version of the Van Lancker report advocates legal abortion and easy availability of morning-after pills, and the candidate nations fear that such measures could undermine popular support for membership. The centre-right European People's Party, the largest bloc in the parliament, today tabled an amendment stating that applicant countries should not be put under pressure in such matters as abortion, public health services and sex education, where nations' cultural and constitutional principles differ. [Euro-Fam and SPUC Brussels, 27 June] The northern Mexican state of Neuvo Leon has opened an ethical stem cell bank for the poor. David Gomez, head of the facility at the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, said that the bank would only store stem cells taken from placentas and umbilical cords. It is hoped that the stem cells will be used for therapy and research, thereby making the university a leader in this field of medicine. [LifeSite, 26 June ] Ethical stem cell research constitutes a more promising alternative to the destructive extraction of stem cells from embryos and to so-called therapeutic cloning. The 17th Duke of Norfolk, an opponent of abortion, has died. The Duke, who was both a Catholic and the premier duke of England, opposed the relaxation of abortion laws and voted against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 when it was debated in the House of Lords. The duke was a vice-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group. [SPUC, 27 June]

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