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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 21 January 2003

21 January 2003

21 January 2003 The European parliament's development committee adopted the pro-abortion Sandbaek report this afternoon almost unanimously. In order for the full parliament to be allowed a debate on the report and to pass amendments, it was necessary for only four of the 63 committee members to vote against the report. However, in the event only two members voted against. Others abstained or were absent at the time of the vote. This means that MEPs will only be able to vote on the entire report next month. John Smeaton, national director of SPUC, commented: "On account of the fact that EU regulations take precedence over national law, all EU member states will now be obliged to fund abortions overseas through their EU contributions. This includes Ireland, which has a pro-life constitution, as well as the pro-life accession countries such as Malta and Poland when they become full EU members. We are deeply concerned by this development because abortion law is not within the competence of the European Union, but a pro-abortion agenda is being pushed through without proper democratic scrutiny or informed debate." European pro-lifers are being urged to ask their MEPs to vote against the report in its entirety when it comes before the full parliament next month, and to contact their national governments to urge ministers to do all they can within the decision-making framework of the EU, particularly in the council of ministers, to amend the regulation. [Euro-Fam and SPUC , 21 January] A British member of the European parliament has called for the legalisation of euthanasia. Chris Davies, a Liberal Democrat MEP for the north-west of England, said that the law in the UK should be changed because "after years of pain and suffering, to be allowed to die with dignity should be the most fundamental human right of all". Mr Davies made his comments after Reginald Crew from Liverpool killed himself in an assisted suicide in Switzerland yesterday. The Crown Prosecution Service has since confirmed that it is considering whether criminal charges could be brought under the Suicide Act 1961 against Mrs Crew and an ITV television team which allegedly helped Mr Crew to travel to Switzerland. [BBC News online and Daily Telegraph, 21 January] Poland's prime minister has confirmed that no moves will be made to liberalise the country's abortion law at least until after the next parliamentary elections in 2005. Prime Minister Leszek Miller told a Polish radio station yesterday that there was no majority in the Diet [lower house of parliament] in favour of amending the law or of holding a referendum on the issue. His comments came after the president voiced his opposition to any change in the law on abortion [see yesterday's digest ]. Meanwhile, the Polish Catholic bishops have urged the government to add a special clause to the country's European Union accession treaty to safeguard Poland's laws against abortion and euthanasia. [Zenit, 20 January ; EUobserver, 21 January ] The founder of the Raelian cult has apparently admitted that claims by Clonaid to have produced born-alive cloned babies may be false. Clonaid, a company with links to the Raelian cult, claims that two cloned babies have so far been born, and that a third cloned child is due to be born soon in Japan. However, Claude Vorilhon, also known as Rael, welcomed the publicity achieved by the cloning claims and said: "If it isn't true, it's the most beautiful scientific joke but, in any case, it has allowed us to communicate our messages to the whole planet." [Ananova and Zenit , 20 January] There has still been no independent corroboration of Clonaid's claims, which have been received with much scepticism by other experts. Fr Frank Pavone, founder of the US group Priests for Life, has remarked on how the scope of the pro-life campaign has expanded in the 30 years since Roe v Wade. In a message to mark the 30th anniversary tomorrow of the US supreme court decision which declared a constitutional right to abortion, Fr Pavone said: " Roe vs Wade is not just a bad decision; it is a poison which seeps into our culture and gives rise to many dangerous 'weeds' such as infanticide, destruction of embryos in the name of research, the threat of cloning, etc." Fr Pavone also noted that all life issues were interrelated. [CNS, 17 January ]

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