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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 5 November 2002

5 November 2002

5 November 2002 It is reported that Sainsbury's, a British supermarket chain, has ended its participation in a government-backed trial scheme to provide the abortifacient morning-after pill free of charge to girls under 16 without parents' knowledge. A spokesman for the chain insisted that the end of the trial had been planned and was not due to any ethical considerations. [The Universe, 3 November] The Tesco supermarket chain stopped giving the morning-after pill to under-16s earlier this year after a campaign by pro-lifers. The United States has threatened to withdraw its support for the final declaration of the UN's 1994 Cairo conference on population because its language is being used to support abortion. At a meeting on population and development in Bangkok last week, the US delegation said its government would not reaffirm its support for the Cairo programme of action unless the terms "reproductive health services" and "reproductive rights" were changed or removed. Agnes van Ardenne, the Dutch minister for development co-operation, described the US threat as "disappointing and incredible" but SPUC challenged her to state whether the Dutch government had understood the Cairo programme of action as promoting abortion all along. [New York Times, 1 November; SPUC, 5 November] The United Nations Population Fund and the Canadian International Development Agency are targetting Malawi for so-called reproductive health projects. LifeSite, a Canadian pro-life news resource, reports that the joint project is providing and distributing abortifacient methods of birth control in Malawi when the country is being threatened by famine. Malawi has come under international pressure to abandon its protection of the unborn. [LifeSite, 4 November ] Dr Philip Nitschke, the Australian campaigner for euthanasia, has unveiled plans for acts of civil disobedience to test laws on assisted suicide. At a public meeting in Australia's capital territory last week, Dr Nitschke said that groups of 20 people would design and build portable carbon monoxide generators intended to cause death. He explained: "If one of those 20 then goes home and uses the device, are the other 19 responsible for that person's actions? The lawyers are troubled by this." Dr Nitschke's latest initiative comes in the wake of his plans to market so-called Exit Bags to facilitate suicide by suffocation. [The Canberra Times, 30 October ] An ultrasound technician in Wisconsin is suing his employer for religious discrimination after he was allegedly dismissed for trying to talk a patient out of having an abortion. In papers filed with the US district court in Minneapolis, Donald Grant explains that he was an ultrasound technician for 15 years without having to deal with the issue of abortion. When he saw on a patient's chart that she was considering an abortion in April, his religious beliefs compelled him to try to dissuade her from going through with it. He claims that he was told to leave for acting "outside the scope of his position". The report does not indicate whether the patient kept her child. [Star Tribune, 5 November ]

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