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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 7 June 2002

7 June 2002

7 June 2002 A committee of the European parliament voted this week to endorse a strongly pro-abortion document. The parliament's committee on women's rights and equal opportunities voted on Tuesday by 21 to 11, with four abstentions, in favour of the draft Van Lancker report on sexual and reproductive rights. The full parliament will now probably vote on the report next month. Paragraph nine of the report, as amended this week, "recommends that, in order to safeguard women's reproductive health and rights, abortion should be made legal, safe and accessible to all." Paragraph four requests all EU member states and candidate countries "to promote emergency contraception, for example over-the-counter and at affordable prices, as standard practice within sexual and reproductive healthcare." Other paragraphs recommend the provision of confidential family planning services in schools and condemn President Bush's Mexico City policy which blocks US funding of international organisations involved in the provision or promotion of abortion. [Euro-Fam , 7 June] The Irish supreme court has ruled that the deportation of a pregnant Nigerian woman would not contravene the constitutional protection of unborn life. The court made its decision to reject Ms Iyabode Abimbola Oladado's challenge to a deportation order in February, but the reasons were only released yesterday. Counsel for Ms Oladado, who became pregnant after she arrived in Ireland and claimed refugee status, had told the court that the mortality rate in Nigeria was indisputably higher than in Ireland and that her deportation would therefore contravene article 40.3.3 of the constitution which commits Ireland "by its laws to defend and vindicate" the right to life of the unborn. The justices ruled that the standard of ante- and post-natal care in Nigeria was "entirely irrelevant". [Irish Independent, 7 June ] Schering, the multinational pharmaceutical company, has confirmed that it plans to apply for the abortifacient morning-after pill to be made available without prescription throughout Australia. The company, which markets the Levonelle morning-after pill in Britain, will ask the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration to reclassify the drug under the tradename of Postinor-2. The Australian Family Planning Association welcomed the move and expressed the hope that the drug would become readily available in supermarket aisles and vending machines. Postinor-2 was licensed as a prescription drug in Australia last August, and will become available throughout the country on prescription from the beginning of next month. [The Age, 2 June] President Bush has threatened to veto a public spending bill if it contains language requiring him to release $34 million in funds to the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The US senate appropriations committee has amended the 2002 supplemental appropriations bill so that the president would be obliged to release the funding for the UNFPA which he froze in January, but the Bush administration has announced that it cannot support the bill unless the president retains his freedom to determine the "appropriate" amount of funding, and that no support should be given to the UNFPA if it is found to support coercive population control programmes in China. [Reuters, 5 June; via Pro-Life Infonet ] Official statistics for 46 US states, New York City and Washington, DC, indicate that 884,273 unborn children were killed by abortion in 1998, the latest year for which the figures are available. The total represents a decrease of two percent from 1997. The statistics released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not include Alaska, California, New Hampshire or Oklahoma, where it is thought that about five percent of all US abortions are performed. [Reuters, 6 June; via Pro-Life Infonet ] The governor of Alaska has vetoed a bill which would have restricted public funding of abortion. Governor Tony Knowles, a Democrat, said that he had blocked the measure to limit Medicaid funding for abortions passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature because it was "playing doctor and invading the privacy of women". [The Boston Globe, 6 June ]

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