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News, 12 November 2002

12 November 2002

12 November 2002 The president of the US conference of Catholic bishops has described the 1973 supreme court ruling in Roe v Wade, which established a constitutional right to abortion, as "disastrous for our nation". In his address yesterday to open a four-day meeting of the US bishops in Washington D.C., Bishop Wilton D Gregory said that the Roe v Wade decision "more than any other in our recent history, has been responsible for blinding our national conscience to the truth about our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". The bishops are to vote this week on a statement which calls for the reversal of Roe v Wade and urges anyone considering an abortion to turn to the Church for help. [CNSNews, 12 November ] An Austrian bishop who is also a medical doctor has condemned euthanasia and assisted suicide because "to kill is always contrary to love and involves a mistaken view of compassion". Bishop Klaus Küng of Feldkirch told a scientific congress: "A society that kills the disabled, the sick, the elderly and the dying is inhuman." The bishop stressed that real compassion involved care and that the focus should always be on providing effective palliative care to make pain more bearable in the final stages of illness. [Zenit, 11 November ] The premier of New Brunswick has insisted that a decision by doctors at the Moncton hospital to stop providing elective abortions [see digest for 6 November ] will not curtail access to abortion. Premier Bernard Law said that the state had an obligation to maintain access to abortion and that the health minister would be examining the issue to ensure that existing resources were maximised. He added that the state could pay for abortions to be carried out in other provinces. Meanwhile, Dr Henry Morgentaler, the prominent Canadian abortionist, described the decision by the Moncton hospital as "completely unacceptable", "disgusting" and "unethical". Dr Morgentaler charges women about $500 for abortions at his private profit-making abortion clinic in Fredericton, New Brunswick. [Several sources via Pro-Life E-News, 9 November] A vote in the European parliament's development committee on the EU's policy for overseas aid has been postponed again, this time until early next month. The committee had originally been due to vote on the Sandbæk report last month, but the vote was then postponed until this week due to the large number of pro-life amendments. Pro-lifers welcomed the further delay as an opportunity to redouble their efforts to remove provision for abortion funding from the report. Peter Smith of SPUC noted that Marie Stopes International (MSI), a London-based provider and promoter of abortion, had been involved in the drawing up of the report and stood to gain from EU funding if the report was passed unamended. He urged pro-lifers in Africa to pass on any information related to MSI's activities on their continent, where most countries have restrictive abortion laws. [SPUC, 12 November] Peter Smith can be contacted at international@spuc.org.uk .

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