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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 14 January 2003

14 January 2003

14 January 2003 Pope John Paul II condemned abortion and other attacks on the dignity of human life during his annual address to the Vatican diplomatic corps yesterday. In his 'state of the world' address to diplomats, the pope said: "Abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, for example, risk reducing the human person to a mere object: life and death to order, as it were! When all moral criteria are removed, scientific research involving the sources of life becomes a denial of the being and the dignity of the person." He went on to say that choices needed to be made so that humanity could still have a future, and that the first of these choices was: "No to death! That is to say, no to all that attacks the incomparable dignity of every human being, beginning with that of unborn children." [Newsday , LifeSite and Zenit , 13 January] Legislation to ban human cloning only for reproductive purposes is expected to be introduced in the US Senate before other senators are able to introduce an alternative measure to secure a comprehensive cloning ban. A bill to ban cloning for all purposes has already been introduced in the House of Representatives, and it was thought that similar legislation would be tabled in the Senate soon afterwards. [FT, 14 January ; see digest for 9 January ] US Senator Joseph Lieberman has become the latest pro-abortion Democrat to announce his intention to run for president next year. Senator Lieberman, who was the Democrats' vice-presidential candidate in 2000, is known as a staunch pro-abortionist and has voted three times against a ban on partial birth abortions. It is reported that the four other Democrat politicians who have so far put their names forward for the Democrat presidential nomination are also pro-abortion. [Pro-Life Infonet , 13 January] Participants at a pro-euthanasia conference in California have given a cool reception to suggestions by Dr Philip Nitschke that there may be a case for offering euthanasia to those who are not terminally ill. Addressing the conference of the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society in San Diego over the weekend, Dr Nitschke, the prominent Australian campaigner for euthanasia, said that healthy elderly people who had "made a rational decision to end their lives" should be "listened to". However, he conceded afterwards that his comments had caused "some discomfort", and Derek Humphry, the Hemlock Society's founder, insisted that the Society did "not encourage any form of suicide for mental health or emotional reasons". [CNSNews, 14 January ] Two pregnant sisters from Qatar have been reunited with their Indian husbands after their family allegedly tried to force them into having abortions. The two sisters arrived with their brothers at Cairo airport last week but then claimed asylum. It is reported that their brothers had taken them to Egypt with the intention of procuring illegal abortions because the family was against the sisters' marriages to Indian men. Egyptian human rights lawyers worked with representatives of the United Nations High Commission to protect the women on the basis that they were being persecuted. [AP, 9 January; via Pro-Life Infonet ] A prominent pro-life US senator has called for a firm defence of human life in a letter to accept one of the Catholic diocese of Brooklyn's annual pro-life awards. Senator Sam Brownback, a Republican who represents Kansas, wrote: "We must unambiguously confront the threats against human life, whether those threats emerge at the beginning of life in the form of abortion, cloning or destructive embryonic stem-cell research, or at the end of life in the form of euthanasia or assisted suicide." [Catholic News Service, 13 January ] Utah's supreme court has upheld a state law prohibiting so-called wrongful birth lawsuits. The 1983 law protects doctors from being sued by the parents of children with developmental anomalies on the basis that the mother would have had an abortion if the doctor had diagnosed the anomaly during pregnancy. The law was challenged in 1999 by a couple who had a baby with Down's syndrome. [EWTN News, 8 January ]

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