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News, 12 September 2002

12 September 2002

12 September 2002 The abortifacient morning-after pill is to be offered free of charge to men in Scotland's largest city. Dr Des Spence, one of the doctors leading the 'Choices Project' at the Maryhill Health Centre in Glasgow, said: "The idea is that we should encourage men to play an equal part in contraception.... We have encouraged women to carry condoms, so we should encourage men to carry the morning-after pill." [Sunday Herald, 8 September ] Ian Murray, head of SPUC Scotland, said: "This scheme is dangerous and flawed. It can only lead to more use the morning-after pill, which can cause an early abortion and offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections. It will also endanger women's health because no doctor or pharmacist will be able to check or even ask about their medical history. This scheme will lead to more unborn children losing their lives, and will put young women and girls at greater risk of abuse and sexual maltreatment by men." The European parliament's women's rights committee has rejected a budget amendment which had the aim of implicitly re-instating the monopoly on EU funding for women's groups previously enjoyed by the pro-abortion European Women's Lobby. Pro-lifers succeeded in ending the EWL's monopoly last year after a concerted three-year campaign. [Euro-Fam , 10 September] The UK's Medical Research Council (MRC) has revealed that three biotechnology companies have offered to donate stem cell lines to Europe's first stem cell bank launched yesterday. Sir George Radda, chief executive of the MRC, said that it was essential for industry to become involved in the project. It has been widely reported that the bank will store embryonic stem cells, although ReNeuron, a British company, has said that it will also deposit lines of human foetal brain cells in the bank. [Financial Times, 12 September ] The European Union's commissioner for development and humanitarian aid has signed the financing agreement to provide 32 million euros in extra funding for sexual and reproductive health projects in 22 developing countries. Poul Nielson signed the document on Tuesday after delivering a speech in which he strongly criticised the US decision to withdraw funding from international pro-abortion groups. 10 million euros will be given to the International Planned Parenthood Federation and 20 million euros to the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The remaining 2 million euros will be for monitoring and evaluation. [EU Commission, 10 September ; IPPF News, 11 September ] The medical director of an English fertility clinic has refused to offer routine pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) tests for babies conceived through IVF. PGD can be used to screen out babies with various chromosomal anomalies, such as Down's syndrome. Peter Brinsden of the Bourn Hall centre in Cambridgeshire said that he had yet to be convinced of the effectiveness of such tests, and added that "screening embryos and throwing out what's not perfect also poses some ethical difficulties". [Cambridge Newspapers, 10 September ] The selection and rejection of IVF babies through PGD is an example of eugenics because it fatally discriminates against those babies who fail the test. Pro-lifers have expressed concern that Mary Robinson is to head a new project aimed at forcing governments to comply with their United Nations treaty obligations in the area of human rights. Mrs Robinson left her post as UN high commissioner for human rights yesterday and announced that she would now be heading a project called the Ethical Globalization Initiative from next month. Mrs Robinson has consistently pushed for abortion to be recognised as a human right, and berated the pro-life president of Costa Rica on this issue only a few days ago at the world summit in Johannesburg. [LifeSite, 11 September ; see digest for 6 September ]

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