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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 28 March 2002

28 March 2002

28 March 2002 Legislators in the Australian state of Victoria may be given a free vote on the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research. It is reported that it would be the first free vote on a law in the state's legislature since a vote on capital punishment in 1976. Steve Bracks, the state's premier, said that, while he favoured a national approach to the issue, Victoria would act unilaterally if no national policy was agreed. The current law in Victoria prohibits experimentation on discarded in vitro fertilisation embryos, but allows research on embryos imported from other countries. Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne condemned the premier's support for embryo research, describing the practice as a "terrible assault on life in its earliest moments". [Herald Sun, 27 March; via ] A court in Fargo, North Dakota, is hearing evidence of a link between procured abortion and breast cancer. The issue before the court is whether an abortion clinic was guilty of false advertising when it claimed in a pamphlet that there was "no evidence of a direct rtelationship between breast cancer and either induced or spontaneous abortion". Dr Joel Brind, an expert on the alleged link between abortion and breast cancer [see news digest for 8 March 2001 ], was among those to testify this week. The trial was expected to conclude today. [LifeSite, 27 March ] A Catholic bishop in the USA has defended a display of photographs comparing abortion with the Nazi holocaust and racial violence. The exhibition at Boise State University, which is being organised by a Catholic student group, depicts aborted unborn children alongside corpses in a Nazi death camp and black victims of racist lynch mobs. The captions include "Ungentile, Unwhite, Unborn" and "Religious Choice, Racial Choice, Reproductive Choice". Rabbi Daniel Fink, a Jewish community leader, wrote to Catholic Bishop Michael Driscoll to complain that the display was offensive. However, Bishop Driscoll refused to withdraw support for the display, saying that while the images were "gruesome", so was abortion. [AP, 27 March; via World News ] Legislators in Kansas have voted in favour of two laws which would ban human cloning and the destruction of human embryos for research purposes. The state House passed the cloning measure by 90 votes to 32, while the measure to ban the destruction of embryos was passed by 78 votes to 44. Both pieces of legislation now have to be considered by the state senate, although other issues may prevent the bills from being taken up. [Topeka Capital-Journal, 27 March ]

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