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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 27 November 2002

27 November 2002

27 November 2002 The leader of the Catholic Church in Peru has been criticised by legislators from several parties for his outspoken opposition to the proposed legalisation of abortion in the constitution. An amendment to Article 2 of the constitution agreed last month by the Peruvian congress states that "abortion is prohibited but for the exception permitted by law". Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, archbishop of Lima, condemned this wording unequivocally on Sunday, insisting: "There is no exception at all when the word abortion means the murder of one who already has life... May the law of God fall with full force on the consciences of those who have the legal responsibility, because to take the life of the unborn is not a topic subject to opinions." A number of legislators described the cardinal's statements as offensive, provocative and interfering, but the chairman of the constitutional committee promised that the wording would be submitted for further review before it was confirmed. [EFE, via Northern Light, 25 November ; Zenit, 26 November ] The Australian prime minister has condemned euthanasia after a healthy 79-year-old killed herself after attending suicide classes organised by Dr Philip Nitschke's Exit Australia group. Lisette Bigot left a suicide note explaining that she had enjoyed a good life but had had enough and wanted to end it "before it gets bad". Dr Nitschke, the prominent pro-euthanasia campaigner, met Ms Bigot three weeks before her death. He claims that he tried to dissuade her, but would have tried harder had she been younger. Prime Minister John Howard said: "We should encourage the preservation of life and the respect for life. I condemn and depreciate in the strongest possible terms anything that allows or encourages anybody to take their life, especially if they're healthy." [Guardian, 27 November ] The executive director of the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has condemned pro-life groups opposed to "reproductive health in all its aspects". In the keynote address to a meeting in Ottawa of over 100 pro-abortion parliamentarians from 70 countries, Ms Thoraya Obaid said: "My friends, we must not allow a very small but very determined and vocal group of ideologues to reverse progress for women and dilute international human rights and the Cairo [UN population conference] consensus." Clearly referring to the US-based Population Research Institute (PRI), Ms Obaid specifically criticised "one vocal group" for presenting evidence of UNFPA's involvement in coercive abortion programmes in China to the legislatures of the UNFPA's major donors [namely the US congress and the European parliament]. [LifeSite, 26 November ] Reproductive health is a term defined by the World Health Organisation in such a way as to include the availability of abortion on demand. A controversial Italian fertility specialist has claimed that the first birth of a full-term cloned human baby will take place in January. Professor Severino Antinori said that three women were now in advanced stages of pregnancy with cloned babies, although he refused to reveal their geographical location. Other experts have received his claims with scepticism. [BBC News online, 27 November ] A doctor has appeared in court in England accused of pretending to implant embryos inside women to pay off his debts. Dr Paul Fielding received £50 for each embryo implantation, but it is alleged that many of the embryos he claimed to have implanted at private and NHS fertility clinics in Hampshire between 1997 and 1999 actually remained in frozen storage. The reports do not indicate the fate of these embryos. [Daily Telegraph, 26 November]

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