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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 20 November 2003

20 November 2003

20 November 2003 South Africa has made moves to further extend its liberal abortion laws with the tabling of a draft Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, LifeSite reports. The new legislation would permit nurses to carry out abortions and allow any health facility with a 24-hour maternity service to perform first trimester abortions. [LifeSite, 18 November ] A Church of England curate has explained her reasons for taking legal action over the late abortion of a baby with cleft palate. The Rev Joanna Jepson, a Cambridge graduate, was born with cleft palate and had corrective surgery as a teenager. She said: "We bend over backwards not to discriminate (against people with disabilities) in society, yet when it comes to the unborn we are seeing a level of eugenics in action. I want to see the law tightened so that the eugenics agenda does not become widely accepted or accepted at all." [The Times, 20 November ] St Lucia's prime minister has called off parliamentary debate on a proposal to allow abortion under certain circumstances, CNN reports. When the government announced the proposals in September, hundreds of Catholics gathered for a silent protest march. A petition has since been handed over and the Church called for a day of prayer and fasting this week in protest against any attempt to legalise abortion. [CNN, 19 November ] The cabinet of Taiwan is considering proposals to ban sex selection abortion, the Taipei Times reports. The policy change came about after religious and women's groups reached a consensus on the subject during private discussions. [Beliefnet, 18 November ] The European parliament voted yesterday to back embryonic stem cell research, increasing the chance that the moratorium on stem cell research will be lifted next month. Ewa Okon-Horodynska, Polish deputy minister for education commented: "Our system of values is totally against this and there is no way we could morally agree with this kind of research." [FT, 20 November ] In a press release, the Commission of the Bishops' Conference of the European Community stated: "We are deeply concerned by the European Parliament's proposal to allow EU funding for research that will involve the destruction of human embryos. The Parliament's proposal would weaken the Commission's proposed ethical guidelines on EU funding for human embryonic stem-cell research." [COMECE, 19 November ]

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