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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 5 August 2004

5 August 2004

5 August 2004 Three US Catholic bishops have announced that they will withhold Communion to church members who consistently support abortion. A statement issued by Archbishop John Donoghue of Atlanta, Bishop Robert Baker of Charleston and Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte, said that Catholics who violate church teaching in policy-making were "cooperating in evil in a public manner". Other bishops have urged pro-abortion politicians such as presidential candidate John Kerry to abstain from receiving Communion. [The Guardian, 5 August ] There has been speculation in the media that, following the publication of guidelines by the Department of Health, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society may permit pharmacists to sell the morning-after pill to girls under the age of 16. [Independent News, 5 August ] Amendments to South Africa's Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (1996) could allow nurses in hospitals to perform abortions. Pro-life campaigners are seeking a conscientious objection clause as medical staff are currently not permitted to opt out of performing abortions. Over 250,000 abortions have been carried out in South Africa since it was legalised in 1996. [AllAfrica.com, 4 August ] The Pro-Life Coalition of Puerto Rico is campaigning to block the nomination of a feminist politician who has been nominated to the Puerto Rican Supreme Court. Anabelle Rodriguez was nominated by Governor Sila Maria Calderon, who recently blocked a law that protected conscientious objection in the workplace, especially in relation to abortion. [Catholic World News, 4 August ] Archbishop Oscar Cruz and other Catholic leaders in the Philippines are set to block efforts to expand Manila's birth control programmes. The Church in Manila plans to lobby legislators, hoping to convince them to block all moves to increase funding for the distribution of contraception. [Catholic World News, 4 August ] A Dutch abortionist has urged Maltese women to sue the government for not permitting abortion, The Times of Malta reports. Rebecca Gomperts provoked an outcry four years ago when she announced her intention to bring her abortion ship to provide abortions in international waters near countries with pro-life constitutions. A spokesman for the government stated that Maltese society values the dignity of the human being, saying: "We are proud of these values and we will continue to embrace them as the basis for our development of society." [The Times of Malta, 4 August ] Fiorella Sultana De Maria, a Maltese-born spokeswoman for SPUC, commented: "How dare a Dutch abortionist set herself up as a spokeswoman for the Maltese people? Malta is an independent country: Rebecca Gomperts attempts to interfere with Malta's legal and social policies are unwelcome and insulting." [SPUC source] Organisations that support people with disabilities have created a coalition to oppose the UK government's Mental Capacity Bill. Disability Awareness in Action (DAA), the National Centre for Independent Living and The British Council of Disabled People state that the new bill threatens their members' independence. Tara Flood of the DAA said: "We have heard about decisions, from forced sterilisation of disabled people because families decide it is in the their 'best interest', to withdraw medical treatment [sic], including food and drink." [Disability Now , 4 August ]

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