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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 23 January 2003

23 January 2003

23 January 2003 US President Bush urged Congress to pass legislation to ban partial birth abortions and human cloning in his address to the 30th annual March for Life in Washington DC yesterday. Addressing the tens of thousands of marchers via telephone from Missouri, President Bush also thanked the participants for their "devotion to the cause of life" and reaffirmed his commitment to build "a culture of life in America". The president looked forward to the day when all unborn children would be loved and protected, and said: "...when that day arrives, you will have the gratitude of millions - especially those who know the gift of life because you cared and you kept the faith." [White House media release and BBC News online , 22 January] The vice-president of Clonaid has told a court in Florida that he does not know the whereabouts of the first alleged cloned human baby. Thomas Kaenzig was addressing the court in Fort Lauderdale via telephone in a hearing to determine whether the alleged clone - whose existence has not been independently confirmed - should be assigned a legal guardian. Mr Kaenzig refused to answer most questions, but said that Brigitte Boisselier, Clonaid's president, had assured him that Eve was being taken good care of. The judge was not satisfied by Mr Kaenzig's responses and ordered him to appear in court for a further hearing next week. Meanwhile, the machine which Clonaid claims was used to create Eve has gone on display in the Science Museum in London as part of an exhibition entitled 'Breakthrough or Hoax'. [BBC News online, 23 January ; Times of India, 22 January ] The Vatican is to publish a lexicon to clarify the meaning of controversial terms such as "reproductive rights". Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said that the document was necessary because such terms often took on certain connotations at international meetings and were being used to further a radical agenda. Citing the term "reproductive rights" as an example, the cardinal explained that it was "used for propaganda, not for the right to reproduction but to freedom for abortion". [AP, 23 January; via Northern Light ] A bishop in California has said that Catholic pro-abortion politicians should abstain from receiving holy communion. Referring specifically to California's pro-abortion governor Gray Davis, who is a Catholic, Bishop William K Weigand of Sacramento said: "I have to say clearly that anyone - politician or otherwise - who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk and is not in good standing with the Church. Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and choose of his own volition to abstain from receiving holy communion until he has a change of heart." [CNS, 22 January ]

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