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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 23 September 2003

23 September 2003

23 September 2003 The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have issued a statement urging the government to support a UN ban on all forms of human cloning. Yesterday, Archbishop Peter Smith met health minister Melanie Johnson to put forward the case for a ban. [Catholic Communications Service, 23 September ] The president of the Royal Society has urged the UN to resist a total ban, on the grounds that embryonic cells are "less complex in the biological sense than the average potato." SPUC spokesman Anthony Ozimic commented: "Lord May's ideological bias for playing God with human beings in test tubes has made him forget that human embryos cannot grow into vegetables but only continue to develop as humans into ever greater complexity." [The Times, 23 September ] An opposition MP has argued that people should have more children to combat the ageing population problem in the UK and the rest of Europe, the BBC reports. David Willetts stressed that he was not suggesting that a woman's place was in the home but wanted to see men and women combining work and family, and family-friendly government policies. The Family Planning Association accused Mr Willetts of blaming women for the birth decline. [BBC, 23 September ] Women who regret having abortions gathered in New York last Monday to take part in a demonstration organised by the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Janet Morana of Priests for Life, who co-founded the campaign, said: "We want to help women who are hurting from abortion find peace and healing. This campaign will let them know they're not alone." [LifeNews.com, 22 September ] An Irish government official has stated that they will not oppose taxpayers money being used by the EU to fund embryo research, even though such research is illegal in Ireland. Dana Rosemary Scallon, an Irish MEP called the research "unethical and unconstitutional" and has urged people to lobby the government. Ireland's opposition is particularly important as Germany, Austria and Italy already oppose the EU funding proposal and the combined opposition of the four countries would be sufficient to block the proposal altogether. [LifeSite, 22 September ] In a bid to tackle Scotland's high rate of teenage pregnancy, health authorities have instructed chemists to make the morning after pill freely available to schoolgirls as young as 14. The move has caused concern among local councillors who have likened the free distribution of the morning after pill to "putting a sticking plaster on a serious wound." High Street chains involved in the scheme include Boots and Safeway. [Edinburgh Evening News, 22 September ] A UK tabloid newspaper has run a story praising the courage of a woman who carried her baby to term in spite of suffering from a potentially fatal lung disease and an enlarged heart. Rachel Crawford refused an abortion in spite of the risks to her health and the baby was eventually delivered by caesarean section at 24 weeks. [The Mirror, 22 September ]

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