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Defending life
from conception to natural death


28 February 2005

28 February 2005

28 February 2005 The chairman of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has written to the health minister requesting that a legislative clause restricting research using IVF embryos be extended until the legislation is reviewed at the end of the year.

The restriction is due to expire in April 2005. Cardinal Pell has publicly called for a national ban on embryonic stem cell research.

[, 28 February ] The parents of a teenage girl in Wyoming have filed a lawsuit against the state after learning that her school procured the 'morning-after pill' for her without their consent.

The 15-year-old girl told school counsellors last April that she had had sex with a 23-year-old man and was taken to a county health department where she was given the morning after pill.

The parents ask why criminal charges were never filed against the man and are holding the school and health authorities responsible for causing their family emotional upset and violating their rights as parents.

[, 25 February ] A young Egyptian woman has generated a media scandal after choosing to raise a child as a single mother and filing a paternity claim against a popular young actor.

Hind el-Hinnawy entered into an unofficial or 'urfi' marriage contract with Ahmed el-Fishawy, but he denied the marriage arrangement when he discovered she was pregnant and refused to recognise the child.

El-Hinnawy said she had been pressured to have an abortion by the father's family, but said: ``Even if I wasn't married, I would have kept the baby...I never considered abortion, which I believe is punished by God. I was dying to be a mother.''

[, 27 February ] A pharmacist in East London refused to sell the morning-after pill because it is against her religious beliefs, the Sunday Mirror reports.

Sabina Easmin, who is a Muslim, reportedly told her customer, Katie Richardson: "I'm sorry I can't sell it to you because it's against my beliefs." Miss Richardson commented "I was amazed she refused to give me it. If she has religious objections, why do the job?"

[Sunday, 27 February ] At the hearing in the House of Lords next week, Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) will argue that allowing parents to create and select an embryo for the purpose of producing transplant tissue for a sick sibling is beyond the HFEA's remit. Josephine Quintavalle of CORE told The Observer that the case is 'not about a radical who has got to prove something at all costs. It's a public interest case.'

[The Observer, 27 February ] A mother in Manchester has given birth to a son after he had to be given 3 blood transfusions before he was born.

Sally Cliffe-Redford knew after the birth of her first child six years ago that a second pregnancy was likely to involve complications due to her rare blood condition.

[Manchester News Online 26 February ] Leaders of three American Catholic organisations - the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Medical Association and the Catholic Health Association - have signed a letter urging Senators to vote against rescinding an amendment which protects health care providers who refuse to be involved with abortion.

The Hyde/Weldon Amendment, approved last December, is under attack from Senator Barbara Boxer, who is proposing its abolition.

The letter to the US Senate states: "Current law...already allows individual and institutional health care providers to freely choose to provide abortions, and the Hyde/Weldon Conscience Protection Amendment does not alter this reality.

All the amendment does is help 'level the playing field' for those who decline to provide abortions...If you hold a pro-life position, this will be an easy vote. If you see yourself as 'pro-choice,' this is an opportunity to affirm that your commitment to 'choice' includes respect for everyone's choices on abortion.

We hope for an overwhelming Senate vote against rescinding the Hyde/Weldon Conscience Protection Amendment." [United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 23 February ]

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