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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 10 January 2003

10 January 2003

10 January 2003 The Vatican has prepared a set of guidelines on how Catholic politicians should respond to "morally unjust and imperfect laws" in areas such as abortion, artificial insemination, cloning and euthanasia. The document, which will be published soon, has been put together by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Reports suggest that the document will resolve a debate on how one section of Pope John Paul II's 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae should be interpreted. [Zenit, 9 January ; Bloomberg, 10 January] The UK's Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to "clarify" the law on assisted suicide following the decision of the House of Lords [England's highest court] in the case of Dianne Pretty. The court ruled that the DPP had acted properly when he refused to agree not to prosecute Mrs Pretty's husband if he helped his wife to die. The VES cited an article written by Richard Tur, an academic at Oxford University, in which he argues that the law lords made it clear that the DPP was entitled to form and publish a policy document setting out the criteria he would use in exercising his discretion as to which cases of assisted suicide should be prosecuted. [LawZONE, 10 January ] The Ugandan ambassador to Denmark has called for a debate on the legalisation of abortion in his country. During discussions with Danish and Ugandan politicians and the head of the Family Planning Association of Uganda [which is an affiliate of IPPF, the world's largest abortion promoter], Ambassador Omar Migadde Lubulwa claimed that the restrictive law on abortion meant that young girls were dying every day due to illegal abortions. [, 9 January; via Northern Light ] Almost every country on the African continent has a restrictive law on abortion, but international pro-abortionists are campaigning tirelessly to change this. Australian customs officers have confiscated a so-called death machine from Dr Philip Nitschke as he prepared to take the device with him to the US. Dr Nitschke, a prominent pro-euthanasia campaigner, had planned to present the device to a pro-euthanasia conference in San Diego next week. A spokesman for the customs service confirmed that items had been seized from a passenger at Sydney airport because they contravened legislation preventing the export of goods designed to assist suicide. [Reuters, via FT, 10 January] The minister in charge of China's State Family Planning Commission has insisted that "family-planning work must be a top priority" in order to sustain economic development. Zhang Weiqing said that low population growth should be maintained, and that the social security system should be more focused on the needs of small families. [Xinhua, 9 January] The minister's comments suggest that China is entrenching, rather than liberalising, its one-child family population control strategy which entails coerced abortion and widespread use of the abortifacient intra-uterine device. This week marked the tenth anniversary of the passing of restrictive abortion legislation in the lower house of Poland's national legislature [the law was passed in the upper house on 30 January and came into effect on 16 March]. Prior to the passing of the law, a concerted campaign by pro-life groups and the Catholic Church resulted in a steady decline in the number of abortions in Poland from 105,333 in 1988 to 11,640 in 1992, when abortion was still legal on demand. The restrictive abortion law, which prohibited abortion in most cases but continued to allow it in cases of rape, incest, foetal handicap or threat to the mother's life, led to a further decline in the abortion figures so that in 2000 there were only 138 recorded abortions. However, calls by Polish pro-abortionists this week for a liberalisation of the law appear to have the support of the government. Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka, the minister with responsibility for gender equality, said that the abortion law was "shameful" and had had "only negative consequences". [AFP via FMF, 9 January ; also see A Way of Life (SPUC, 2002), section 6.1]

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