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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 13 March 2002

13 March 2002

13 March 2002 The US House of Representatives yesterday voted in favour of a measure which would give full legal protection to babies who are born alive after attempted abortions. The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act would amend the legal definitions of "person", "child", "human being" and "individual" so that they would include a child who is breathing or has a heartbeat once fully out of the womb following abortion. Similar legislation which was passed by the House of Representatives last year was not taken up by the Senate, but it is hoped that this year's bill will prove more acceptable to the Senate because it omits reference to foetuses "at any point prior to being 'born alive'". Pro-abortionists had feared that such language would undermine the constitutional right to abortion in the US. [AP, via Yahoo! News, 12 March ] The Roman Catholic bishops of Canada have written to Ms Anne McLellan, the federal health minister, criticising her recent decision to authorise destructive research on human embryos. The letter, signed by Bishop Jacques Berthelet, president of the country's conference of Catholic bishops, expresses "profound disappointment" with a recent report prepared by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research which supported stem cell research on embryos left over from in vitro fertilisation treatment. The letter also calls for a moratorium on embryonic research pending consideration of the issue by the Canadian parliament and affirms that human embryos "are human beings with dignity who must be respected as human subjects and not treated as research objects". [Zenit, 10 March ] A pro-abortion group in the United States is taking Mexico to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) over abortion. In its suit, the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy is claiming that Mexico violated the human rights of Paulina Jacinto, a 13-year-old rape victim, when she was refused an abortion. Doctors at Mexicali general hospital initially refused to follow an order to perform an abortion on Paulina. She then decided to keep her child and received aid from the Catholic diocese of Mexicali. If the IACHR accepts the suit, the case could be taken to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights. [EWTN News, 12 March ] A Polish gynaecologist faces prosecution after he was arrested on suspicion of performing illegal abortions. Police in Gdansk are also investigating allegations that the gynaecologist's henchman kidnapped the fiancé of one of his clients to ensure payment for an abortion. [AFP, 12 March; via Pro-Life E-News] In 2000 there were 138 legal abortions recorded in Poland--compared to a total of 105,333 in 1988 before the fall of communism--but there is no evidence of illegal abortion on a wide scale, and maternal and infant health data have improved. Three Australians who were born severely disabled are suing for "wrongful life" in a landmark case before the New South Wales supreme court. Lawyers acting for Alexia Harriton, 20, Chelsea Edwards, two, and Keeden Waller, 17 months, are arguing that each of them should be awarded damages for having been born. [The Age, 11 March ] A pro-life group in Massachusetts has criticised a new law which will force it to offer coverage of potentially abortifacient birth control devices as part of health plans it offers to employees. The Contraceptive Coverage Law, which was signed by the state's governor last week, requires individual and group health insurance plans to cover birth control drugs and devices to the same extent as other prescription drugs. Marie Sturgiss, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, said: "Obviously, we opposed that bill because that bill does support contraceptives that are known abortifacients ... Here we are a pro-life group against abortion and we're going to be forced to have this very thing provided for in our health plans for our employees. That's how ludicrous this thing is." [CNSNews, 8 March ]

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