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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 10 July 2003

10 July 2003

10 July 2003 The EU Commission has approved guidelines allowing funding for research on 'spare' IVF embryos. EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin stated: "By setting strict ethical rules...for such funding, the EU contributes in a responsible way to advancing this science for the benefit of patients across the world, while at the same time ensuring that it takes place within a clear ethical framework." However, the guidelines have come under criticism from some quarters. "Europe must reject this Commission proposal which seeks to fund research using unborn human beings, whether that is as frozen embryos or as aborted babies," stated Irish MEP Rosemary Scallon. [Reuters, 9 July ] European bishops have joined with pro-life groups to condemn the EU Commission's decision. Monsignor Noel Treanor, Secretary General of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) said: "we sincerely regret the European Commission's proposal for guidelines on EU-funded human embryonic stem cell research. Such research raises fundamental moral problems, because it involves the destruction of human embryos." SPUC spokesman Anthony Ozimic commented: "Destructive research on human embryos is banned in a number of EU member states including Ireland, where such research is contrary to the Constitution's protection of unborn children from conception onwards. This means that taxpayers in those member states will be forced to pay the EU to undermine their own laws and fund unethical research in neighbouring countries...We call on EU member-states to defend their sovereignty to protect the right to life from such liberal interpretations of the Charter." [Independent Catholic News, 9 July ] Pro-life fundraiser Fiona Pinto completed a parachute jump over Cambridgeshire, England, last Sunday to raise money for the ProLife Alliance. The PLA suffered heavy financial setbacks during the past year when it lost its cases against cloning and censorship in the House of Lords. "For someone who would run a mile from a rollercoaster, I couldn't have done this without the encouragement of so many people who rang up or emailed," she said. [Independent Catholic News, 10 July ] A woman with a drug problem is appealing against a Michigan court ruling obliging her to use birth control. Renee Gamez, whose two children are in foster care, was arrested last December while driving with drugs in her system and claims that birth control has failed and caused her illness. "This judge is actually treating this woman as an object, like chattel," said Kary Moss of the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The judge concerned, Lapeer County Judge Michael Higgins, told Gamez during the case: "You're going to stop having babies that you can't take care of. I consider that a much greater danger to our society and your children than whether or not you get sick, so get used to it, ma'am." [Detroit Free Press, 9 July ] Doctors in Germany believe that they have made a major breakthrough with in utero surgery after operating on three unborn babies with suspected spina bifida. Surgeons in the US have pioneered in utero surgery but it is a risky procedure involving opening the abdomen and womb which can cause premature labour. However, the new technique involved only tiny incisions into the womb and the insertion of tubes and a camera. "All children operated on showed only slight symptoms of lower limb paralysis after delivery," said Dr Thomas Kohl, who carried out the operation. The BBC reports that there are 18 thousand people with spina bifida in the UK and that 9 in 10 unborn babies diagnosed with the condition are aborted. [BBC,10 July ] A federal judge in Louisiana has blocked the issue of "Choose Life" car number plates. US District Judge Standwood Duval ruled that Louisiana's system for allowing the plates violates the First Amendment by not offering pro-abortion plates. Louisiana has nearly 150 different speciality plates on sale, supporting causes from conservation to the Girl Scouts. William Rittenberg, attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, noted that the ruling does not ban speciality plates but the way in which the state authorises them. Attorney General Richard Leyoub said the state would appeal against the decision. [, 9 July ] An Oklahoma judge has rejected a murder charge for the killing of an unborn child during the Oklahoma bombing in 1995. Terry Nichols, suspected of conspiring in the attack is charged with 161 murders, including a second charge of killing an unborn child. However, the charge for the killing of Carrie Lenz's unborn son was dropped on procedural grounds. Mrs Lenz's widower, Michael, testified before Congress last year in favour of the Unborn Victims bill, describing the ultrasound pictures that were taken of the baby the afternoon before the bombing. He said that, though the official death toll was 168, "in my mind, 171 people lost their lives that day." [, 9 July ]

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