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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 27 March 2003

27 March 2003

27 March 2003 The pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has deployed "mobile obstetric care surgery units" inside Iraq. The UNFPA, which has a record of distributing manual abortion kits and abortifacient drugs to refugees across the world, including from Afghanistan, announced last week that "reproductive health essentials" were being provided at sites inside Iraq and in neighbouring countries to meet the needs of Iraqi refugees expected as a reult of the present military campaign. UNFPA projects in Jordan, Syria, Iran and Turkey will offer "emergency reproductive and obstetric care", including "a referral system for reproductive health services" in Turkey. The UN's definition of "reproductive health services" includes abortion. [UNFPA, 21 March ; SPUC] During a series of parliamentary votes on amendments to the Canadian government's Assisted Human Reproduction bill yesterday, one pro-life motion were passed and another was defeated. There was a majority of 11 votes in favour of an amendment to ensure that all forms of human cloning would be banned under the law, but MPs rejected another amendment to ban all destructive experimentation on human embryos. Mary Ellen Douglas, national co-ordinator of Canada's Campaign Life Coalition, said that her organisation would sadly now have to work to defeat the whole bill because it remained fatally flawed. The third reading and final vote is expected to take place on Thursday or Friday next week. [LifeSite, 26 March ] The judiciary committee of the US House of Representatives has passed legislation to ban partial-birth abortions. The committee voted by 19-11 in favour of the bill, which will now be debated by the full chamber. The measure is similar to that passed in the Senate two weeks ago but, unlike the Senate version, does not include an endorsement of the Supreme Court's Roe v Wade decision which declared a constitutional right to abortion in 1973. [AP, via Kansas City Star, 26 March ] Pro-lifers at the United Nations have expressed satisfaction at the failure of attempts to define a denial of access to abortion as an act of violence against women. The 47th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which met again this week after breaking up earlier this month in chaos [see digest for 17 March ], finally concluded on Tuesday without agreement. When the US and pro-life Muslim countries objected to attempts by the Tunisian chairman to claim that agreement had been reached on the controversial document concerning violence against women, a new chairman from South Korea took over and accepted that the whole document had to be dropped. Peter Smith, SPUC's chief administrative officer at the UN who attended the meeting, said: "The accepted procedure is that no document can be adopted without broad consensus, but the pro-abortionists are willing to break all the rules to further their radical agenda. On this occasion they failed, and so we welcome the return to the rule of law at the UN." [SPUC, 27 March] The Catholic archbishop of Melbourne in Australia has said that legislation on embryo experimentation currently before Victoria's state parliament cannot be supported because it would authorise the killing of innocent human beings. Archbishop Denis J Hart welcomed provisions in the bill to ban all forms of human cloning as well as the creation of human embryos solely for research purposes, but stressed that no Catholic could vote for the bill unless clauses permitting research on surplus IVF embryos currently in storage were removed. The archbishop said: "Thousands of human IVF embryos lie in laboratory freezers today, powerless, voiceless, unseen. They are human. They are alive. They are what we all once were. And so they should be treated with reverence and love." [Archdiocese of Melbourne, via MediaNet, week of 24 March ]

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