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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 26 July 2004

26 July 2004

26 July 2004 A number of letters have been printed in the Daily Telegraph in response to an article about the Mental Capacity Bill. Lord Filkin repeated his claim that the Bill does not permit 'euthanasia by stealth', whilst Dr Jacqueline Lang of the Department of Law, London Metropolitan University, disagreed, arguing that the Bill 'seriously disempowers and endangers those with incapacity.' [The Daily Telegraph, 24 and 26 July ] 1000 pro-life protesters gathered outside the Democratic National Convention at the weekend to protest against abortion, The Guardian reports. The demonstrators rallied at Faneuil Hall, where patriots gathered before the American War of Independence and marched to Fleet Center, where it is expected that John Kerry will be nominated for president this week. [The Guardian, 25 July ] The director of a UK IVF clinic has applied for permission to use a new embryo screening technique. The technique creates duplicates of cells extracted from the embryo prior to implantation and could be used to screen for a number of genetic defects including a predisposition to cancer, diabetes and asthma. Josephine Quintavalle of the pro-life group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, commented: "If we view children as something we manufacture in a Petri dish, it is inevitable that we will want to strive towards physical perfection." [The Times of London, 25 July ] The Royal College of Nursing has said that it will reconsider its opposition to euthanasia after receiving letters and emails from euthanasia supporters. The RCN came under pressure to change its stance last year when Karen Sanders, chair of the RCN's ethics committee, supported Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying bill. Maura Buchanan, deputy president of the RCN said that they would 'listen very carefully' to members' views. Rachel Hurst, director of Disability Awareness in Action, said that euthanasia 'would be a slippery slope and many people who did not want to die could be affected.' [Sunday Herald, 25 July ] A Chinese court has convicted 52 people of baby trafficking, sentencing six to death and five to life imprisonment. The baby smuggling ring was uncovered by police last year when 28 babies were found hidden in travel bags on a bus. In rural China, the one-child policy has fuelled a growing trade in baby girls, with some families buying future brides for their sons to compensate for the gender gap. [BBC, 24 July ] A woman who lost her legal challenge to use her IVF embryos without her former partner's consent, has applied for legal funding to continue her appeal. Natallie Evans hopes to file a petition to the House of Lords, the highest court in Britain. Muiris Lyons, her solicitor, said: "This legal challenge has wide implications not just for Natallie but also for the future of IVF treatment." [This is Bath, 24 July ] A Mississippi judge has blocked a federal law banning abortions after 13 weeks' gestation from being carried out at clinics. US District Judge Tom S. Lee said that the law, which required late abortions to be carried out in hospitals and outpatient surgical facilities instead, did nothing to protect patient health. [The Guardian, 23 July ] A Dutch abortion ship that was banned from sailing abroad has said that it will take the Dutch government to court to lift the restriction. The Dutch government recently stated that the ship must stay within 25km of the Dutch capital in order to be near a hospital, but the Women on Waves foundation who run the abortion facility claim that the precaution is unnecessary. [Reuters, 23 July ] The woman behind the documentary My Foetus has told an Australian newspaper that she would have an abortion again under certain circumstances. Julia Black made the film whilst pregnant, using it to explore her feelings about an abortion she had when she was 21. She said: "I wanted to make a film that did provoke emotions or anger or got people discussing issues." She expressed disappointment with the pro-abortion lobby in the UK, claiming that it was "a bit too defensive." She added: "Even amongst friends who are pro-choice it seems it comes back to this mantra of a woman's right to choose and that's something that we've never challenged before." [Herald Sun, 26 July ] An Australian hospital that provides compulsory counselling for women seeking abortion has found that over a quarter of women change their mind about the abortion after counselling. The finding has prompted calls for steps to be taken to ensure that all women receive counselling and information about alternatives to abortion. [, 25 July ] The UK Catholic bishops have criticised a decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to permit 'designer babies' to be created to provide sick siblings with a perfect tissue match. Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff stated: "Once we allow a human life to be deliberately produced, and then selected or destroyed, simply to benefit another, we have lost our ethical bearings." Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow added: "We do not as a society have the right to initiate human life either to destroy it, or for purposes however nobly intended, which render that life a means to someone else's ends. Human life is not a commodity; a baby is not a product; an embryo is not a cluster of exploitable cells." [Zenit, 22 July ] In an interview with ABC News, John Kerry has re-affirmed his support for Roe v. Wade and his opposition to any restriction on legal abortion. Kerry previously claimed to believe that 'life begins at conception' but added that personhood does not begin at that point and spoke instead of the 'fertilisation process' when a human being is 'first formed and created.'[, 23 July ] A pro-life demonstration was held outside Kerry's church yesterday in protest against his pro-abortion views. Demonstrators sang hymns and held placards reading "Stop Killing My Generation" and "You CAN'T be Catholic&Pro-Abortion" outside the Paulist church described in the article as 'Catholic, but not really: more Episcopal lite; or orthodox Unitarian.' [The Weekly Standard, 25 July ] A UK reality TV show is planning a programme in which men compete for the chance to impregnate a woman through IVF. The idea has sparked widespread criticism in the UK and is unlikely to be marketed there. A UK newspaper described the proposed programme as "sick" and "depraved", and a BBC spokesman has said that "it is absolutely not for the BBC." [, 23 July ]

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