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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 12 March 2002

12 March 2002

12 March 2002 The Catholic diocese of Limburg in Germany has announced that it is withdrawing from a state-sponsored counselling scheme through which women can obtain certificates needed for a legal abortion. The announcement was made after Pope John Paul II removed responsibility for health centres in Limburg diocese from Franz Kamphaus, the diocesan bishop. Bishop Kamphaus had been the only German bishop to defy a papal request for all dioceses to withdraw from the scheme. Bishop Kamphaus was allowed by the Pope to remain in office, and has confirmed that he will not be stepping down. Cardinal Karl Lehmann, president of the German episcopal conference, said: "It is obvious that the Pope has intervened with a spirit of fraternity to offer a common witness of the Church and to maintain communion." [Zenit, 8 March ; EWTN News, 11 March ] Pro-lifers in Northern Ireland have launched a publication which they hope will make an important contribution to the defence of the unborn. Produced by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in Northern Ireland, A way of life aims to present the pro-life position clearly, comprehensively and authoritatively. It was launched last week at Stormont, the home of the Northern Ireland legislative assembly, by Mr Nigel Dodds (an assembly member for the Unionist DUP and the minister for social development) and Mr Danny O'Connor (an assembly member for the Nationalist SDLP). The two men stressed that the rejection of abortion unites both sections of Northern Ireland's community. [SPUC, 12 March] A way of life can be obtained from SPUC at the following prices (including postage and packing): £6.30 for the UK, £7.50 for the rest of Europe, £10 for the rest of the world. The Roman Catholic Church in Kenya has issued a strongly worded condemnation of abortion. Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth, chairman of the Justice and Peace Commission, stated: "I abhor the ongoing crusade for legalisation of abortion in Kenya as the act constitutes murder which is a sin before God and an offence in our law statutes." [East African Standard, 11 March ] A 27-year-old lady has died after a legal abortion in England. Maria Margaret Soule, a beautician from Worthing, West Sussex, suffered a severe asthma attack after an abortion at the Marie Stopes clinic in Brixton Hill, south London, and died soon after in hospital. An inquest heard that Ms Soule had been talkative immediately after the abortion and had even said that she was disappointed to have been awoken from a beautiful dream. Then she suddenly turned blue and suffered a cardiac arrest. She had been diagnosed with mild asthma after another abortion five months before. The deputy coroner recorded an open verdict. [Brighton and Hove Argus, 7 March; via Pro-Life Infonet] The makers of the abortifacient Plan B morning-after pill have applied to have it reclassified as a drug available from pharmacists without a doctor's prescription across Canada. Paladin Labs Inc., the company which distributes Plan B in Canada, filed its application with Health Canada last Wednesday. The application is being supported by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Canadian Pharmacists Association. It is thought that Health Canada will take several months to consider the application. [National post online, 8 March ] Virginia is set to become the first American state to pass a ban on partial-birth abortions since the US Supreme Court threw out Nebraska's ban on the procedure in June 2000. The legislation has been passed by the state's legislature and is now awaiting the signature of Governor Mark Warner. Pro-lifers hope that the measure will be deemed constitutional because it is more specific than Nebraska's law. The final majority in favour of the measure in Virginia's senate was one less than would be needed to override the governor if he rejects the bill. [Zenit, 10 March ] A nurse faces being struck off the nursing roll in South Africa after she admitted to performing illegal, late-term abortions. South Africa's nursing council found 62-year-old Betty Norah Mawela guilty of scandalous conduct and recommended that she be struck off after the nurse testified that she had performed abortions up to the 34th week of pregnancy at a women's clinic in Pretoria. Ms Mawela said: "At times the foetuses lay in the bucket, crying for up to half an hour before drowning. We were told to tie the foetuses in plastic bags and put them in the fridge. At times I took some of the larger foetuses from the buckets, wrapped them in a towel and put them at the heater. Then they stayed alive for up to two hours." The case will now be referred to the police. [News24, 8 March ]

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