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News, 13 January 2003

13 January 2003

13 January 2003 The Roman Catholic archbishop of Glasgow has said that human cloning is a further step down the "nightmarish journey" that began with the advent of in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Mario Conti, archbishop of Scotland's largest city and a member of the British and Irish Catholic bishops' joint bioethics committee, observed that human cloning would not be an issue today "were it not for the fact that we have already crossed several moral boundaries before finally coming to an instinctive halt on the brink of reproductive cloning". In an article for a Scottish newspaper, Archbishop Conti wrote that one moral problem had succeeded another, starting with the British government's acceptance of IVF, "namely the production of human beings in the petri dish", and culminating in the UK parliament's decision two years ago to authorise the creation of cloned human embryos for the purposes of destructive research. [Sunday Herald, 12 January ] A court in Florida has ordered a vice-president of the Clonaid company, which has claimed to have produced the world's first born-alive cloned baby, to disclose the whereabouts of the child and her mother. If Thomas Kaenzig does not appear before 22 January, he will be held in contempt of court. The action has been taken after Bernard Siegel, an attorney, filed a lawsuit requesting the state of Florida to appoint a guardian for the child. The lawsuit claims that the child is being commercially exploited and may need specialist medical care. [AP, 11 January; via Pro-Life Infonet ] Please see a correction to this item in the news dated 15 January . A representative of the US Catholic bishops has welcomed the re-introduction of legislation in Congress to ban all forms of human cloning. Cathleen Cleaver, spokeswoman for the bishops' pro-life secretariat, said that a comprehensive cloning ban was necessary to prevent cloning for research purposes. Ms Cleaver pointed out that, while so-called reproductive cloning was aimed at producing a born-alive infant, cloning for research required "a 100% prenatal death rate". She also observed that cloning required the extraction of massive numbers of eggs from women, and that making women "egg-factories for this research" was "an utterly demeaning proposition". [Zenit, 12 January ] The leader of a party in Norway's coalition government has started an investigation after the country's department for international aid provided her with inflated statistics for worldwide abortion-related maternal deaths. Mrs Valgerd Svarstad Haugland, leader of the Christian People's Party and government minister of culture and church, defended the Norwegian government's support for "safe" abortions in developing world countries by claiming that 800,000 women died every year as a result of medically improper abortions. However, a reporter then informed her that this figure was 130 times higher than some estimates and 11.5 times higher even than estimated by the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). [LifeSite, 9 January ] Inflated claims of abortion-related deaths among women are a common ploy of pro-abortionists in their campaign to have abortion legalised. Researchers in England have suggested that unborn children whose mothers have a high-fat diet during pregnancy could be at an increased risk of developing heart problems in later life. Dr Paul Taylor of Tommy's Maternal and Foetal Research Unit at St Thomas's Hospital in London said that research on rats had indicated that a diet high in animal fat during pregnancy could cause permanent metabolic and cardiovascular abnormalities in a developing foetus, and that female offspring might be more vulnerable to such effects than males. [BBC News online, 13 January ] Pro-abortionists have criticised the Spanish prime minister's wife for her pro-life views after she announced her candidacy in municipal elections in Madrid. Ana Botella, wife of José María Aznar, is well known for her conservative Catholic opinions. [New York Times, 9 January ; Daily Telegraph, 10 January]

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