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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 10 April 2003

10 April 2003

10 April 2003 The House of Lords, Britain's highest court, has ruled that the BBC was within its rights to refuse to broadcast a party election film by the ProLife Alliance which depicted images of abortion on the grounds that it was "grossly offensive". The law lords' 4-1 decision was announced today, although the full text of the judgement will be released later. The decision overturns an earlier ruling by three Appeal Court judges, who accused the BBC of censorship [see digest for 14 March 2002]. A spokesman for the ProLife Alliance said: "A nation justly weeps for the terrible injuries inflicted on the Iraqi child who was maimed by war, and his dramatic plight is pictured on the front pages of the media worldwide. But the same compassionate nation is prohibited from seeing the reality of the fate of the aborted unborn English child, massacred every day in the United Kingdom, with figures now reaching beyond 6 million. Freedom of speech has always been the primary ingredient of democracy. Democracy died today in the United Kingdom." [ProLife Alliance, Guardian Unlimited and SPUC, 10 April] The European parliament voted today in favour of a proposed directive which would ban all human cloning, both for reproductive and so-called therapeutic purposes, and restrict any research which involves the destruction of surplus IVF embryos. The directive, based on a report co-ordinated by German MEP Peter Liese, will have to be voted on again and agreed by national governments before it can become law, but pro-lifers are delighted by the clear message MEPs have sent out to countries with permissive embryo research laws, especially the UK. Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, said: "This is the third time in as many years that MEPs have signalled their rejection of cloning for experimental purposes, and again today they have acted to isolate Tony Blair's government, whose support for destructive research on cloned embryos is unique in Europe and makes Britain a pariah state on the issue." [BBC News online and SPUC media release , 10 April] Police in England have announced that no charges will be brought against anyone involved in the assisted suicide of Reginald Crew in January. Merseyside Police had launched an investigation into whether Mrs Crew and others had broken the law by helping Mr Crew travel to Zurich to kill himself with the help of a pro-suicide organisation, but Norman Bettison, Merseyside's chief constable, now says that he is "satisfied that there is no evidence to warrant prosecution of any member of Reginald Crew's family, or any other person in connection with his death". This is despite a well orchestrated campaign to publicise his actions and the Swiss organisation. [The Guardian, 10 April ] Catholics in Kenya are mobilising to ensure that abortion is not legalised in the new constitution. The Church has been hosting workshops to prepare more than 150 Catholic participants in the National Constitutional Conference which gets underway on 28 April. Catherine Waliaula of the Kenyan bishops' commission for justice and peace said that provisions dealing with abortion were among those which were important concerns for the Church. [CNS, 9 April ] The state senate of Connecticut has passed a bill which would extend legal protection to unborn children. The bill would establish a penalty of up to 25 years in prison for anyone who assaulted a pregnant woman if the assault resulted in the death of the woman's unborn child. The legislation, which will now move to the House of Representatives, has been nicknamed 'Jenny's Bill' after a pregnant woman called Jenny McMechen who was murdered in 2001. Her killer was charged with murder, but no charges could be brought over the death of her unborn child because the state did not recognise a foetus as a person. [, 10 April ]

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