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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 20 February 2003

20 February 2003

20 February 2003 150 pro-abortionists in 46 countries have signed a letter urging the president of Poland to support the liberalisation of his country's abortion law. The letter, which objects to recent pro-life comments made by President Kwasniewski in support of Poland's abortion law, appears to be an initiative by Frances Kissling, president of the group called Catholics for a Free Choice (CFC), and the Federation for Women and Family Planning of Poland. The letter was supported by several pro-abortion religious figures, and attacked the moral leadership of the Polish clergy. A number of members of the European parliament also signed the letter after it was actively promoted among MEPs by Marie Stopes International, a major promoter and provider of abortion. [US Newswire, 19 February ; also see SPUC news digest for 6 February ] A government medical board in Nicaragua has ruled that a pregnant nine-year-old rape victim faces the same risks whether or not she has an abortion. The panel had been considering whether the girl could legally have an abortion on the basis that her pregnancy endangered her life [see yesterday's digest ]. The lawyer acting on behalf of the girl and her family criticised the board's ruling as "an ambiguous document that tries to ignore the wishes of the parents". Benjamin Perez, Nicaragua's human rights prosecutor, has now asked doctors for a clearer recommendation on the specific matter of whether an abortion can go ahead. [AP and Agencia EFE , 19 January; via Northern Light] A member of the British House of Lords has introduced a private members bill to legalise assisted suicide. Lord Joel Joffe's Patient Assisted Dying Bill, which has the backing of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, will receive its first reading in parliament today. Lord Joffe, a retired human rights lawyer, claimed that the need for his bill had been highlighted by the recent cases of Diane Pretty, whose demand for a "right to die" was rejected, and Reginald Crew, who went to Switzerland to obtain help to commit suicide. The measure would apply to those who had a serious incurable physical illness and not just those who were terminally ill, but it has little chance of becoming law. [BBC News online, 20 February ] A senior African cardinal has warned Europe against imposing demographic policies on Africa. Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said that there was a drive to solve the continent's problems by controlling the number of children. However, he stressed that the solution was development, not population control. [Zenit, 19 February ] Western abortion promoters and providers, such as Marie Stopes International, are very active in Africa. The state legislature of Virginia has passed a ban on partial-birth abortions by a sufficient margin to avoid a veto by the pro-abortion governor. The state's House of Delegates passed the legislation by 72-27 earlier this month, and on Tuesday the Senate passed the same measure by 29-11. Last year Governor Mark R Warner vetoed similar legislation, and senators then failed to override his veto by just three votes. The senate also passed a law this week to allow the sale of pro-life car number plates to raise funds for adoption initiatives, but not by a veto-proof majority. [The Washington Times, 19 February ; see digest for 18 April 2002 ]

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