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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 10 February 2004

10 February 2004

10 February 2004 The United Nations is asking Ethiopia to legalise abortion. Ms Sjamsiah Achmad of the UN's committee on the elimination of discrimination against women raised the matter at a meeting with the government. UN policy is reportedly not to promote abortion where it is illegal. [, 6 February ] Campaigners in California are applying for some $3 billion in state funding for human embryo research over 10 years. Supporters of the campaign include scientists, patients' groups and film company executives. Such research is legal in the state and in New Jersey. The US federal government gave less than $11 million for such work in 2002. [North County Times, 8 February ] A Catholic prelate has told the Pope of the lack of public interest in a proposed law which would allow human cloning in France. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyons was speaking after an episcopal visit to the pontiff in Rome. He questioned whether Catholic representatives could support a law which did not clearly reject cloning. The human embryo was not a thing. French law guaranteed respect for all people "from the beginning of life". [Zenit, 9 February ] As Argentina debates abortion, the country's Catholic bishops have reminded citizens that the constitution recognises life from conception. The national discussion has been prompted by President Kirchner's nomination of a pro-abortion judge to the supreme court. The pro-life pact of San José de Costa Rica is part of Argentina's constitution. [Zenit, 8 February ] Two law professors are supporting a Catholic prelate's request that pro-abortion politicians should not come to holy communion. On the web-version of the National Review, Professor Robert George of Princeton university, New Jersey, and Professor Gerard Bradley of Notre Dame university, Indiana, express their agreement with Most Rev Raymond Burke, former bishop of La Crosse, now archbishop of St Louis. Professor George told the Zenit news agency: "The first responsibility of those exercising public authority is to protect the right to life of the weakest and most vulnerable members of the human family." He also described Senator John Kerry, the present front-runner for the Democrat presidential nomination, as pro-abortion. [Zenit, 9 February ] Scientists in Britain are concerned about a law which would require relatives' consent to the removal of patients' tissue and organs. They want amendments to the Human Tissue Bill, which they say fails to distinguish whole organs from samples. The bill would also outlaw the sale of bodies or parts thereof. [BBC, 8 February ] Organ donation raises the issue of consent as well as that of the definition of the point at which organs may ethically be removed. A baby girl with two heads has died after an operation to remove one of them. An American surgeon operated on Rebeca Martinez in her native Dominican Republic. It was said that one head was growing faster than the other. [Sunday Times, 8 February ] It is unclear whether the girl's condition was fatal. A state-funded mobile sexual health advice centre has been visiting high schools in Morley, Leeds, England. The project has been deemed a success and there are plans for it to be extended to other parts of the city. Since July some 5,000 teenagers have used the facility, which offers other types of advice. [NetDoctor, 10 February ] Written sexual health information is to be given out at a nightclub in Dartford, England. [News Shopper, 10 February ] Sexual health information can include facts about abortifacient birth control and/or abortion services. A study has found that mercury in fish eaten by mothers damages their unborn babies' brains and hearts. Researchers coordinated by Harvard university, Massachusetts, studied 1,000 families in the Danish Faroe islands. [M2, 9 February ]

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