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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 2 April 2003

2 April 2003

2 April 2003 European Catholic bishops have urged the European Union not to fund destructive research on human embryos. The Commission of the Bishops of the European Community (COMECE) issued a statement at the conclusion of its Spring plenary meeting in Brussels dealing with various topics of concern, including the EU's multi-million euro Sixth Framework Programme for Research. At present there is a moratorium on EU funding of destructive research under this programme, but a planned review of ethical guidelines could open the way for funding of this type of research to begin from the start of next year despite the fact that it is banned in a number of current and prospective EU member countries. The COMECE statement called on the EU to "respect the different ethical approaches to research with human embryos and embryonic stem cells in member states". [COMECE, 28 March ; SPUC, 2 April] Researchers in Ohio have linked a substance used to make plastic bottles with miscarriages and developmental anomalies such as Down's syndrome. Scientists at Ohio's Case Western Reserve University found that exposure to bisphenol caused abnormalities in the developing egg cells of some female mice, and concluded that the same phenomenon could occur in humans and cause chromosomal anomalies in unborn children. They also found that plastic bottles leaked bisphenol to a greater extent if they were old or washed often. [The Scotsman, 2 April ] A US court has issued a temporary restraining order to prevent an abortion from being performed on a teenager who wants to keep her unborn child. The parents of a 16-year-old girl had booked her in to have an abortion in Jackson, Mississippi, next Saturday, but the teenager contacted lawyers at the American Family Association's Center for Law and Policy in Tupelo who intervened to stop the abortion from going ahead. A preliminary hearing on the matter will now be held in a federal court next Monday. [WLBT, 1 April ] Pro-life groups mounted a surprise lobby of the US Congress yesterday in support of President Bush's policies against public funding of abortion services overseas. More than 100 lobbyists from pro-life women's and family groups planned to visit 165 members of the House of Representatives as well as 55 senators to urge support for the so-called Mexico City policy which prevents federal funding of any group which either provides or promotes abortion abroad. The director general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which has reportedly been denied $18 million in grants, described the policy as "a testament to the Bush administration's war against women". However, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a congresswoman from Florida, said that the lobbyists were fighting for "an issue of basic human rights". [CNSNews, 2 April ] The president of a US-based group that promotes population control around the world has linked terrorism with overpopulation in a fundraising letter. Werner Fornos, president of the Population Institute, condemned the withholding of $34 million in US funding from the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and observed: "It's no wonder that we, the richest nation in the world, for whom $34 million is a relatively small portion of the federal budget, have people who hate us." John Cusey, executive director of the Congressional Pro-life Caucus, described the letter as "extremely offensive and outrageous". [SPUC, 2 April]

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