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News, 7 November 2002

7 November 2002

7 November 2002 Reports from the US indicate that pro-life candidates have enjoyed great success not only in elections for congress but also in elections for state legislatures and governorships. A number of prominent pro-life state governors were re-elected, while Alaska, Minnesota and South Dakota were among the states to elect new pro-life governors. West Virginia is one of the states where pro-life candidates faired extremely well in elections for the state legislature. West Virginians for Life reports that 16 of the 17 successful state senate candidates were pro-life, while prominent pro-abortionists in the house of delegates lost their seats. [Pro-Life Infonet and West Virginians for Life, 6 November] The focus of funding for international aid through United Nations agencies is shifting from population control to food aid, according to figures revealed by a UN official. Patrizio Civili, assistant secretary-general for policy co-ordination and inter-agency affairs, said that funding for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) - both of which are pro-abortion - had declined, while the World Food Programme (WFP) received $1.9 billion last year, the highest amount in its history. [LifeSite, 6 November ] The supreme court of South Carolina is to decide whether so-called viable foetuses can be protected under child abuse laws. A 1997 ruling which stated that unborn children who could survive outside their mother's womb were protected under child abuse laws could be overturned if the justices reverse a woman's conviction for the homicide of her unborn child by abuse. The woman in question was sentenced to 12 years in prison for causing the death of her unborn child by using cocaine during pregnancy. [Sun News, 7 November ] South Carolina's 1997 ruling makes it the only state to recognise some unborn babies as persons under the law, but unfortunately this is anomalous at present because the 1973 US supreme court decisions in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton established a constitutional right to abortion up to birth. Women's activists have been demonstrating in the Indian capital New Delhi against sex-selective abortion of girls. The demonstrators chanted "Kill a girl child, kill a nation" in response to newly released statistics which showed that the imbalance between girls and boys in India is getting worse, despite laws against sex selection. Among Indian children under six, there are now only 927 girls for every 1,000 boys, while in New Delhi itself the situation is even worse with only 865 girls for every 1,000 boys under six. It is reported that many women who abort their unborn girls do so under pressure from their husbands or in-laws and often suffer from serious depression afterwards. [Middle East Times online, 7 November ] The US state department has insisted that no decision has yet been made on a proposed $3 million grant to the World Health Organisation for research on a drug which induces abortion. Eight members of the US House of Representatives have written to Secretary of State Colin Powell complaining that the grant has been frozen after pro-lifers raised objections. A government spokesman said that, while no decision had been made on where the $3 million allocated for reproductive health activities would be spent, it could only be used for programmes that were consistent with US law. [AP, via Newsday.com, 6 November ] Oregon's attorney general yesterday defended his state's law on assisted suicide in a brief filed with a federal appeals court. The state of Oregon is arguing that John Ashcroft, the US attorney general, acted beyond his powers under the constitution when he effectively quashed Oregon's law on assisted suicide last year by ruling that suicide was not a legitimate medical purpose for federally controlled drugs. Mr Ashcroft's decision was overturned by a federal judge earlier this year, but the US justice department is now appealing that decision. [Guardian, 7 November]

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