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News, 21 April 2004

21 April 2004

21 April 2004 Pro-abortion groups in the US including Planned Parenthood and the National Organisation for Women are organising a pro-abortion rally in Washington this Sunday, hoping to assemble over 500,000 supporters. At least one pro-abortion group, the Radical Cheerleaders of DC, have threatened to attack pro-life counter-demonstrations and vandalise their banners, stating that "they are irrational and will not listen to you." [The Guardian and MichNews, 20 April ] The director of the New Zealand Catholic Church's bioethics centre has said that calls to legalise euthanasia fail to recognise the real needs of the terminally ill. Referring to the conviction of Lesley Martin for the attempted murder of her terminally ill mother, Fr Michael McCabe commented that "the real lesson from the Martin case is that when patients and their caregivers find themselves isolated, inadequately supported and exhausted, the consequences can be tragic." He added: "Legalising euthanasia is not the answer. It is clear that there is still a long way to go before the needs of the dying and their caregivers are adequately met." [Cathnews.com, 21 April ] Professor Ian Wilmut, who led the team that created Dolly the sheep, is applying for the first UK licence to clone human embryos, saying it would be 'immoral' not to carry out such research. The English High Court ruled that human cloning was lawful in 2001. [icscotland, 21 April ] HIV experts writing in the British Medical Journal have said that faithfulness is often the "poor relation" of the ABC [Abstinence, Be faithful, Condom use] sexual health approach. The authors point out that infection rates in Uganda fell from 15% to 5% largely as a result of partner reduction campaigns, stating: "We believe it is imperative to begin including messages about mutual fidelity and partner reduction in ongoing activities to change sexual behaviour." [PMLive.com, 20 April ] The mother of a 13-year-old girl who suffers from a rare chromosome disorder, has spoken of her anger at hospital staff for failing to tell her about her daughter's disability within the then legal time limit for abortion. June Jones reached an out-of-court settlement with the hospital, saying: "People say you shouldn't play God and get rid of a child because it is disabled. But the hospital played God with my life by taking away my choice." She added that she probably would not have had an abortion and that she adores her child. [icnewcastle, 20 April ] Alison Davies, co-ordinator of the disability rights group No Less Human, commented: "June Jones seems confused about what she really means when she talks of the hospital "playing God" by not giving her the choice of aborting her daughter Natasha. The choice of killing a baby by abortion is not a "right" which any woman can claim, nor is it a "choice" anyone should be given. Every human being, including those with disabilities, has an inherent right to life, and aborting on grounds of disability is a form of fatal discrimination." [SPUC source] In a statement issued in anticipation of the abortion documentary shown on UK television last night, Archbishop Peter Smith, the chairman of the department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the Bishops' Conference, said: "Television images of an abortion, disturbing and repulsive as they undoubtedly would be, could prove a powerful anti-abortion message, highlighting the full horror of abortion. The truth of what is being done out of the public gaze is the true scandal of abortion. [Independent Catholic News, 6 April ] The US Food and Drug Administration has approved clinical trials of a bone marrow stem cell therapy to treat severe heart failure. The proposed treatment has already been tested in Brazil and shown to be safe and beneficial. [Genome News Network, 16 April ]

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