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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 15 March 2002

15 March 2002

15 March 2002 It is reported that legislators in Nepal yesterday approved a bill to legalise abortion. A bill to legalise the procedure failed last year after it was rejected by the upper house of the country's legislature, but a new campaign to liberalise abortion law was launched last month. Any bill would require the signature of King Gyanendra in order to become law. Last year the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations explicitly demanded that Nepal should legalise abortion. [The Times of India, 15 March ; also SPUC news digests for 13 September and 12 October 2001, and 13 February 2002 ] An Australian Anglican bishop has pointed out the logical inconsistency in opposing destructive research on human embryos while at the same time supporting in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Although he is apparently in favour of IVF, George Browning, Anglican bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, refused to support a statement by 10 other Anglican bishops in New South Wales urging the federal government only to support stem cell research which did not entail the destruction of embryos. Bishop Browning said: "Using the logic of the statement, surely to produce embryos, knowing that the vast majority of them are not going to be placed back in the womb of the mother, but are to be 'wasted', must be totally unacceptable. I have not heard any argument from the Anglican community which opposes the IVF programme." [The Canberra Times, 14 March ] SPUC has warmly welcomed yesterday's victory for the Pro-Life Alliance in the English court of appeal over the refusal of the BBC and other broadcasters to show an election film featuring photographs of aborted babies. Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, said: "Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures and it is absolutely right that the public should be fully informed of what is entailed. It is particularly outrageous that our BBC should have interfered in the working of democracy in this way." The BBC has announced its intention to take the case to the House of Lords, England's highest court. A member of the US Supreme Court has re-stated his view that there is no constitutional right to abortion in the United States. In a speech on Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, said: "My votes in abortion cases have nothing to do with my pro-life views. They have to do with the text of the constitution. And there is nothing, nothing in the constitution that guarantees the right to an abortion." [The Buffalo News, 14 March ] The US Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to abortion in the 1973 Roe v Wade case, although this judgement could be reversed if future appointees to the Supreme Court share the views of Justice Scalia. A study carried out in New Zealand has suggested a link between abortion and domestic violence. Half of the 62 women who took part in a survey conducted at an abortion clinic in Waikato between July and November last year claimed that they had suffered physical or sexual abuse, most often at the hands of their partner or a family member. [Waikato Times, 15 March ] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) marked a "national day of appreciation for abortion providers" last Sunday. The ACLU's website urged Americans to "stand up with your abortion service providers and say: Thank you for your heroism, perseverance, courage and commitment to women." The day was initiated in 1996 and is co-sponsored by a number of abortion providers and pro-abortion groups such as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. [CNSNews, 8 March]

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