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News, 4 March 2004

4 March 2004

4 March 2004 The Portuguese parliament has rejected calls to liberalise its abortion laws, following a high profile court case in which 17 people were charged over illegal abortions. Pro-abortion activists have been calling for a referendum after losing one in 1998, but Jose Manuel Durao Barroso the Prime Minister does not intend to deal with abortion law until 2006. [Alertnet.org, 3 March ] Australian Democrats are to table a bill in an attempt to repeal the laws that overturned the Northern Territory's euthanasia legislation. Euthanasia campaigner Phillip Nitschke welcomed the news. However, Clare Martin, Northern Territory Chief Minister, criticised the Democrats for not consulting Territory politicians. [ABC.net, 3 March ] Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, has found that a blood test from a pregnant woman could be used to provide non-invasive pre-natal tests. Current tests such as amniocentesis carry the risk of miscarriage in some cases. Alistair Kent of the Genetic Interest Group, said: "It would give pregnant women the opportunity to have information on which they could base decisions without potentially putting the future of a healthy pregnancy at risk." [BBC, 3 March ] A spokesman for SPUC commented: "It is never acceptable to develop a test with the intention of screening out children with disabilities. It is sheer hypocrisy to speak of this test as safer for the unborn child when its primary purpose is to ensure that some unborn babies are killed before birth." [SPUC source] The Canadian Senate's Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee has unanimously approved a bill allowing research on 'spare' IVF embryos, 'therapeutic' cloning and the creation of embryos through IVF for research purposes. [LifeSiteNews.com, 3 March ]

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