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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 19 November 2002

19 November 2002

19 November 2002 Dana Rosemary Scallon, a prominent pro-life member of the European parliament from Ireland, has expressed her shock at confirmation that a draft regulation on international aid would oblige Irish tax-payers to fund abortions in the poorest countries, despite Ireland's pro-life constitution. Ulla Sandbaek, a pro-abortion MEP, told Ireland's Radio Kerry today that abortion would be funded by the EU and that this was legally possible because it was in tune with the language of the UN's 1994 Cairo conference on population. The Sandbaek report constitutes the blueprint for a new EU regulation on international aid and will probably be voted on by a European parliamentary committee next month. As it presently stands, the report envisages a dramatic increase in EU funding for so-called reproductive health services, including abortion. EU regulations are binding on all member states. Ms Scallon said: "The Irish government can no longer remain silent on this matter." [Dana Rosemary Scallon, 14 and 19 November] 472 girls as young as 11 have received the abortifacient morning-after pill from school nurses in Oxfordshire, England, without the knowledge of their parents over the past five years, according to newly released statistics. A government-backed pilot scheme in which school nurses have been able to dispense the drug to pupils during lunchtime has been operating in 17 schools across Oxfordshire, and the department of health is now urging other local authorities to join the scheme. Among those which have agreed is West Sussex, where the scheme is due to commence next Spring, and Wandsworth in south London, where a school in Balham will pilot the project in the new year. The stated aim of the schemes is to reduce teenage pregnancy rates, but the Daily Telegraph reports that even the pioneers of the scheme in Oxfordshire have admitted that it has had little effect on recorded conception rates. [Daily Telegraph, 17 November] The chief executive of the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has been asked to resign after losing a vote of no confidence. Dr Maureen Dalziel had only been in the post for a few months. Suzi Leather, the HFEA's chairman, insisted that the move was not related to an investigation into procedures at IVF clinics following a number of high-profile mix-ups. [BBC News online, 18 November ] The HFEA regulates IVF and embryo experimentation in the UK. The deputy press secretary at the White House has insisted that pro-life legislation remains a top priority for President Bush. When asked at a press briefing last week whether the focus on homeland security and anti-terrorism legislation meant that pro-life measures were now low on the priority list, Scott McClellan replied: "No, no. The President believes that we need to be a culture that welcomes life at all stages." [LifeSite, 15 November ] Pope John Paul II has observed that promotion of abortion, artificial birth control and divorce have had "tragic results" by leading to the "disintegration of the family nucleus in its most essential elements". Addressing a group of Brazilian bishops in Rome, the Pope said that a failure to proclaim the truth about such issues "would be a grave pastoral omission which would lead people to error". [Zenit, 18 November ]

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