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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 26 January 2004

26 January 2004

26 January 2004 A member of the British Medical Association's ethics committee has provoked outrage by claiming that infanticide is justifiable in some cases, such as disability. Professor John Harris was speaking at a debate last week on sex selection when he stated: "I don't think infanticide is always unjustifiable. I don't think it is plausible to think that there is any moral change that occurs during the journey down the birth canal." He also said that infanticide is accepted in most countries and that it was for families to decide the fate of their child. [The Telegraph, 25 January ] New Zealand police have decided not to prosecute a doctor who performed an illegal abortion at a Palmerston North hospital. A letter from the Crown prosecutor stated: "The police have advised that they have fully investigated the matter and have concluded, in the light of explanations provided by the hospital and (Dr X) that the matter should be dealt with by way of a formal written caution to both the hospital and (the doctor)." Right to Life New Zealand said that the decision 'makes a mockery of the law.' [The New Zealand Herald, 26 January ] SPUC are among four pro-life organisations who have been admitted as interveners in the Northern Ireland Family Planning Association's appeal case to be heard in May. The FPA's legal attempt to establish guidelines for abortion in Northern Ireland was thrown out last July. Liam Gibson SPUC's development officer in Northern Ireland, said that the FPA had turned to the courts because they had no public or political support for abortion on demand there. [The Belfast Telegraph, 23 January ] Mexico's department of health has approved the morning after pill in an amended version of the federal family planning guidelines. [Edinburgh Evening News, 24 January ] The US bishops' conference have issued a statement in response to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, calling it 'the most extreme law on abortion in the world, short of China, which coerces women to abort their children.' A spokeswoman for the USCCB said: "Abortion is a reflection that we have failed to meet the needs of women. Roe v. Wade has been a social experiment on the lives of women and children, but the culture is turning away from abortion. More and more people believe that all children deserve a chance to be born, and that women deserve better than abortion." [Independent Catholic News, 26 January ] Following the Vigil for Life Mass in Washington last week, Archbishop Sean O'Malley stated in an interview that Catholic politicians who vote against life issues should not receive communion. He said: "These politicians should know that if they're not voting correctly on these life issues that they shouldn't dare come to Communion." [CWNews.com, 25 January ] The US secretary of health and human services has written to the director-general of UNESCO, voicing concern over two UNESCO documents entitled "unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion" and "review of international standards for rights of the child and adolescent rights." Tommy Thompson wrote that the first document "reflects pro-abortion advocacy rather than science and evidence-based strategies for improving reproductive health" and urged them to reassess recommendations that governments should legalise abortion. [ C-FAM, 23 January ]

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