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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 13 February 2003

13 February 2003

13 February 2003 The European parliament voted to adopt the pro-abortion Sandbæk report today, after rejecting two pro-life amendments. No political grouping asked for the report to be sent back to a committee, so MEPs debated the report last night and voted on it at lunchtime today. The two pro-life amendments 49 and 53 were both rejected: the first on a show of hands; the second by 254 votes to 180 with 11 abstentions. The whole report was then approved on a show of hands, which means there were no roll-calls. The Council of Ministers is now likely to adopt the regulation unchanged, which will mean that all member states of the European Union will be compelled to fund abortion services and the provision of abortifacient drugs in developing world countries. John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, said: "Today's tragic vote demonstrates a disrespect for the unborn and disregard for the rights of individual nation states within Europe with pro-life laws." [SPUC, 13 February; see SPUC media release and digest for 11 February for further details] A federal judge in Argentina has blocked the implementation of the government's so-called 'sexual health and responsible procreation' programme because it would involve the provision of abortifacients. Judge Cristina Garzón de Lascano ordered the ministry of health and social action to suspend the programme following a legal challenge by the Women for Life group. Cristina González de Delgado, president of Women for Life, said that the provision of abortifacient birth control drugs violated the right to life of the unborn, the right to health of women, and the rights of parents to take responsibility for their children's education. She also claimed that the programme had been imposed on Argentina by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. [Zenit, 12 February ] The judiciary committee of the US House of Representatives has passed a bill to ban human cloning for all purposes. The legislation, sponsored by Republican Dave Weldon and Democrat Bart Stupak, will now be debated on the floor of the House in two weeks' time. Last year a similar bill was passed by a large majority, and the same is expected this time round. However, pro-cloning legislators may try to employ obstructionist tactics to delay the measure in the US Senate. [Pro-Life Infonet, 12 February] Concerns have been expressed over the possible effects of soya on the developing reproductive organs of male unborn babies. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the US fed pregnant rats on a diet rich in genistein - a chemical found in soya - and observed that their male offspring grew up to have enlarged prostate glands and smaller testes. The urologists involved in the research were concerned about the implications of their findings for humans and advised pregnant women to avoid soya. [BBC News online, 13 February ] New research has suggested that fathers bond with their unborn babies even in the first three months of pregnancy. Researchers at Monash University in Australia followed 116 first-time fathers during the first trimester of pregnancy. Their findings, presented to the conference of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, indicated that some men became "emotionally and psychologically" involved at an early stage, although others found the experience unsettling and needed support. [The Age, 12 February ]

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