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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 22 November 2002

22 November 2002

22 November 2002 The general synod of the Church of England has voted overwhelmingly in favour of restricting the abuses of Britain's Abortion Act. Meeting in London earlier this month, the governing body of the mother church of the worldwide Anglican (Episcopal) communion voted by 222 to 22 in favour of a motion expressing grave concern at the fact that over 500 abortions are performed in England every day of the year. The motion urged the British government "to bring in urgent legislation to restrict the abuses of the Abortion Act" by protecting women from coercion, providing counselling facilities to help women keep their babies, guaranteeing a woman's right to full disclosure about the risks of abortion, and protecting women who are most likely to be injured by abortion. [CofE General Synod, 11 November ] A spokesman for SPUC commented: "We greatly welcome the recent debate on abortion in the general synod, and in particular its call for a restriction of the abuses of the present law and the concerns raised about the sheer number of abortions. As England's legally established church, the Church of England has a unique position to speak up for the unborn, and we have welcomed the appointment of Rowan Williams as the next archbishop of Canterbury because his pro-life position is well known. We hope that the Church of England will in future address itself to the evil of abortion per se as a fundamental issue in today's society, together with its theological and moral implications." A British government minister has revealed that nine applications have been received for embryo research aimed at producing embryonic stem cell lines. In a written reply to a parliamentary question, Hazel Blears, minister for public health, said that five of the applications had been granted by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, while four were currently under consideration. Ms Blears also revealed that the UK's national stem cell bank will cost £2.6 million to establish and run for an initial period of three years. [House of Commons Hansard, 5 and 7 November] Despite differences over other issues, Christian and Muslim leaders in Kenya are united in opposition to the legalisation of abortion in the new draft constitution. Fr Emmanuel Ngugi, a Catholic priest in Nairobi, said that abortion was not allowed either in the Bible or the Koran, and that any right to abortion would be against African traditions. Earlier this month the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims insisted that the new constitution should defend life from the moment of conception. [CNSNews, 21 November ; news digest for 8 November ]

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