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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 16 January 2003

16 January 2003

16 January 2003 The British Medical Association (BMA) has responded to a terminally ill man's campaign for the right to die by stating that it has no plans to call for a change in the law to allow assisted suicide. George Faulkner from Nottingham, England, is mounting a vociferous campaign for a change in the law on euthanasia, but John Grenville of the BMA said: "It is not for doctors to make the law and it is not for doctors to interpret the law." [BBC News online, 16 January ] Legislation on human cloning has been held up in South Korea due to disagreements among legislators over the extent of any ban. Proposed bans on human cloning have been on the table for six months, but lawmakers are divided over whether to pass a comprehensive cloning ban or enact a partial ban which would allow limited research into so-called therapeutic cloning. The minister for health and welfare told the South Korean national assembly last week that he favoured severe punishments for those who attempted cloning for reproductive purposes, but believed that experimental cloning should be allowed selectively and research on human embryos actively supported. [The Korea Times, 13 January ] Reports from the US suggest that the overall abortion rate is falling while the population is becoming more pro-life. The report on abortion trends by the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute [see yesterday's digest ] indicated that the recorded US abortion total was at its lowest since 1974, and that there were 300,000 fewer abortions performed in 2000 than in 1990 when the number of abortions peaked at 1.61 million. Meanwhile, the results of a national opinion poll released yesterday indicated that 68% of respondents were in favour of "restoring legal protection for unborn children", compared to 25% against. [CNSNews, 16 January ] A British embryologist has been sent to prison for 18 months after being convicted of faking embryo implantations during IVF treatment for financial gain. Paul Fielding, formerly an embryologist at private and NHS fertility clinics in Hampshire, was found guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm and false accounting to obtain money by deception. [BBC News online, 15 January ] All six candidates for the US Democratic party's presidential nomination are to appear on the same stage at a pro-abortion fundraising dinner to mark the 30th anniversary of Roe v Wade - the Supreme Court decision that declared a constitutional right to abortion. The dinner is expected to raise $500,000 for Naral Pro-Choice America, whose president Kate Michelman said that the gathering of presidential candidates demonstrated the importance of the abortion issue at a time when the right to abortion was "in great peril". [Washington Times, 15 January; via Pro-Life Infonet ] A large hospital in West Virginia has bowed to public pressure by rejecting any exception to its pro-life policy on elective abortions. The board of the United Hospital Center (UHC) in Clarksburg voted by 8-7 last month in favour of acting on a recommendation by medical staff to allow elective abortions in cases of "rare lethal foetal abnormality". However, concerned members of the public complained about the move, and this week the board rejected any changes. Bruce Carter, UHC president, said: "Our policy will remain the same. We will not perform (elective) abortions, even in the very rare case when a lethal foetal abnormality exists. We respect the community's values on this issue from a philosophical and religious standpoint, and the board has voted accordingly." [Clarksburg Exponent Telegram, 15 January ]

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