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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 17 June 2003

17 June 2003

17 June 2003 SPUC has condemned calls by the House of Commons health select committee to liberalise abortion practice. The report calls for open access to abortion services and for non-hospital nurses to perform early non-surgical abortions. SPUC political secretary, Anthony Ozimic, criticised the promotion of the RU486 abortion pill which has been described by the chairman of RU (Roussel-Uclaf) as 'not at all easy to use...a woman who wants to end her pregnancy has to "live" with her abortion for at least a week using this technique. It's an appalling psychological ordeal'. The pill also carries the risk of side effects such as haemorrhage, severe pain, incomplete abortion, rupture of the uterus, vaginal bleeding and palpitations. "This move to the fast-tracking and increasing demedicalisation of abortion will leave women even more vulnerable to the misinformation and pressure which often accompanies abortion," concluded Mr Ozimic. [SPUC website, 16 June ] Canadian scientists are preparing to conduct embryonic stem cell research before legislation has been approved by Parliament, Canada Life Site reports. The network of 65 scientists plan to apply for funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for two embryonic stem cell research projects. "Scientists across the country have been waiting and they have been waiting, to some degree, as a matter of courtesy," said Dr Ron Worton, director of the network, who believes that the legislation will not outlaw the research they are intending to carry out on surplus human embryos. The government has stated that the legislation will be dealt with when the Commons resumes in September. [Canada.com, 16 June ] Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow has criticised the decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to grant the Roslin Institute a licence to create human embryos through parthenogenesis. "Instead of research into areas like parthenogenesis, which lie at the edges of scientific speculation, it would be far more productive to concentrate our efforts on the study of stem cells which can be readily and ethically harvested from such sources as placenta and bone marrow," he said. "It is here that positive progress is being made which offers some hope to those suffering from distressing medical conditions. Any techniques which do not respect the integrity of individual embryos - and that includes the techniques now being granted a licence - cannot be considered morally legitimate means, even if the end which they seek is in itself good." [Zenit, 11 June ] Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has called upon government legislators to reject a proposed law that would legalise abortion in case of disability. Cardinal Bergoglio argued: 'an anencephalic baby is a sick human being. But being sick does not make him any less human, because he is the fruit of human procreation, with human form and a human destiny.' The Civic Movement of Women, a pro-life organisation, backed the Cardinal, stating, 'such inhuman act of sheer violence should never become legal.' [CWNews, 11 June ] Last weekend, the Holy Father met with participants in the meeting of presidents of the European Episcopal Commissions for the Family and for Life. The title of the conference was "The Challenges and Possibilities at the Beginning of the Third Millennium". The Pope reflected upon the 'disconcerting fragility' of the family in modern Europe but praised the work of Christian families in Europe who 'offer consoling social and ecclesial testimony' through the witness of familial love. He urged governments and political leaders 'to fully assume their commitments in defence of life so that they promote a culture of life.' [Vatican Information Service, 13 June ] William Pryor, the Alabama state attorney general who has been nominated to a seat on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, rigorously defended this opposition to Roe v. Wade during a Judiciary Committee hearing last week. He confirmed that his previous statements, such as that Roe v. Wade was 'the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law' and that it has led to 'the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children' were accurate and that he stood by them. New York Democrat Charles Schumer, who questioned Pryor, commented: 'I appreciate your candour. I really do.' [National Review Online, 12 June ]

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