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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 8 March 2002

8 March 2002

8 March 2002 Dana (Mrs Rosemary Scallon MEP) has called for Ireland's pro-life people to unite in calling for "the option to vote for clear and unambiguous protection of human life from the moment of conception". Mrs Scallon said: "As we approach a general election I will be working to make this principle a political priority thereby confirming, once and for all, the will of the people on this issue--protection for human life from the moment of conception which is fertilisation." Speaking of Wednesday's referendum, she said: "Nothing has changed. Our Constitution is still intact and human life is still protected from the moment of conception--a principle which is non-negotiable. It was wrong to politicise this issue and the government must carry the responsibility for the confusing, misleading and dividing of people through the lack of adequate information." Mrs Scallon warned politicians and parties that, should they attempt to pass any legislation against the will of the people, they would alienate the electorate. [media release, Lindsey Holmes Publicity, 7 March] A submission from SPUC has persuaded a parliamentary committee to urge the British government to raise coercive population control during human right talks with China. In its response to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 2001 Human Rights Annual Report, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said: "[In the] Report the Government sets out ten objectives of a high-level critical dialogue on human rights issues between China and the United Kingdom and its EU partners, objectives with which we agree. There is, however, one omission. We suggest that the human rights abuses which have occurred as a result of China's population control programme (footnote to SPUC submission)--"coercive fertility control", as described by the Secretary of State for International Development--should also appear as a matter to be addressed in this list of objectives, and should be mentioned in future Human Rights Annual Reports." [SPUC, 8 March ] The leader of a United Nations investigation on Chinese population control has contradicted his own statement that Chinese officials were absent while he and his team interviewed citizens in the street. Mr Nicholas Biegman, a former Dutch diplomat, revoked previous testimony to the US Senate while being questioned by Senator Sam Brownback. He said that officials had been present but that his team had distracted them, which caused laughter among observers at the hearing. The US State Department has undertaken to investigate the role of coercion in Chinese population control further. [Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, 8 March ] After reports yesterday of cloning in China, a Shanghai biologist is reported in the Wall Street Journal as claiming to have created embryos by fusing human tissue with rabbits' egg cells. Dr Sheng Huizhen used to work at the National Institutes of Health, Maryland, and has presented her results at Texas university. [LSN on EWTN, 6 March ] Professor Lord Winston, the fertility expert, has complained that the womb-transplant in Saudi Arabia reported on yesterday has raised false hopes among women who cannot bear children. He reportedly described the operation as a failure and compared it to putting rotting meat in the pelvis which could cause thrombosis. Other British experts said that such transplants could help women. [Times, 8 March ] Professor Winston previously advocated pelvic surgery as a better prospect for infertile women than in vitro fertilisation (IVF). He has apparently changed his mind, now being the leading British advocate of IVF. A British scientist who helped clone the first mammal is to move to Singapore to run a project which will produce stem cells from human embryos. Dr Alan Colman, who was part of the team which produced Dolly the sheep, will join ES Cell International, an Australian company. Singapore has identified life sciences as a key growth sector and will open Biopolis, a biomedical research centre, next year. [CNS News, 7 March ] Texas university researchers have found that human blood stem cells can be used to grow gut- and liver-tissue, and skin. Blood stem cells closely resemble those from bone marrow. [New England Journal of Medicine via AP on New Jersey online, 7 March ] Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow, Scotland, will tomorrow open a pro-life centre named after Cardinal Thomas Winning, his predecessor. The premises will house a project which was founded five years ago by the late cardinal and which has helped the mothers of more than 400 babies. The pope has praised the project, as has Professor Germaine Greer, the feminist writer, for providing an alternative to abortion. [Zenit, 7 March ]

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