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Defending life from the moment of conception

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24 January 2005

24 January 2005

24 January 2005 Senior Catholic churchmen in Scotland have said that they will defy a Scottish Executive sexual health strategy that would force schools to supply information about obtaining contraception and abortion.

Michael McGrath, education director of the Catholic Church in Scotland stated: "The executive is supposed to serve the needs of the community rather than impose what they think is good for you.

In a Catholic school we are not going to deliver something that's in conflict with the teachings of the Church." [The Sunday Times, 23 January ] As part of the sexual health strategy, rural schools could play host to sexual health clinics distributing contraception and the morning-after pill.

Other recommendations are expected to include quicker access to abortion. [Scotland on Sunday, 23 January ] An article in The Times of London has described Roe v. Wade as an 'iniquitous law' and examined the legal and moral objections to it.

William Rees-Mogg argues that the Roe v. Wade decision should be left to the states individually and the democratic process, concluding that 'every abortion is a tragedy.'

[The Times, 24 January ] Sir Christopher Evans, the biotechnology entrepreneur, is joining with Lord Winston, the IVF specialist and others to establish a fund to plough money into stem cell research.

Tony Blair the Prime Minister whose government legalised human cloning, is believed to be supportive of the initiative. [The Telegraph, 23 January ] Pope John Paul II has urged Dutch authorities to reconsider the country's response to euthanasia, following the admission by a number of doctors that they had killed 22 terminally ill babies.

The Pope said to the Dutch ambassador to the Vatican: "The Holy See has not failed to lay out its clear position and to invite Catholics in the Netherlands always to bear witness to the most absolute respect of the human person, from conception to natural death."

[The Telegraph, 24 January ] The Telegraph's editorial questioned 'whether it can ever be merciful to kill a new-born baby' and warned about the dangers of euthanasia being introduced in Britain, citing the Mental Capacity Bill which is currently being debated in the House of Lords.

[The Telegraph, 24 January ] The parents of Charlotte Wyatt are returning to court, saying that her condition is improving contrary to the predictions of doctors.

The High Court ruled last year that doctors had the right not to resuscitate the baby on the grounds that she was severely disabled and it would prolong her suffering.

Mr and Mrs Wyatt's solicitor stated: "Given the possibility that there is a change in Charlotte's condition, it is important that all the information is put before the court before any life-or-death decisions about treatment are made."

[The Scotsman, 24 January ] The 66-year-old Romanian woman who gave birth earlier in the month has admitted that she had two abortions in her 20s which she later regretted.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Adriana Iliescu said: "In those days I would never have thought of a termination as murder as I do now".

She added that abortion was regarded at the time as a form of contraception and she followed the received wisdom that the unborn child was not a life until three months gestation.

[BBC, 23 January ] Disability rights groups have attacked a film directed by Clint Eastwood which they say promotes euthanasia. Million Dollar Baby features a young boxer who is seriously injured in an accident and asks to be killed.

The US National Spinal Cord Injury Association described the film as a "brilliantly executed attack on life after a spinal cord injury". Members of Not Dead Yet staged a protest at an awards ceremony, stating that the film "promotes the killing of disabled people as the solution to the 'problem' of disability."

[The Telegraph, 23 January ] Pro-life and pro-abortion activists have marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade with demonstrations and marches.

In San Francisco, pro-lifers marched along the waterfront and were pelted with condoms by abortion activists brandishing coat hangers. Pro-life marches were organised around the US, including the state capitals of Colorado, South Carolina and Texas.

[The Guardian, 23 January ] Philip Nitschke, the euthanasia campaigner nicknamed Dr Death, is to run suicide workshops at a secret location in the Australian outback, The Telegraph reports.

The workshops will teach people to make a suicide pill which he claims is more peaceful than his last effort, the Peaceful Pill, which contained alcohol and nicotine.

The Howard government plans to re-introduce a bill making it a criminal offence to possess information about euthanasia or to use the internet to access or circulate 'suicide promotion material.'

[The Telegraph, 23 January ] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary and himself an Australian, commented: "The location of Dr Nitschke's suicide camp in the Australian outback will be deeply disturbing to aboriginal Australians living in the outback, many of whom who were too scared to use medical services during Dr Nitschke's campaign for legalised killing in the Northern Territory. Whether it is suicide or euthanasia, voluntary or imposed, the "right to die" is in reality a right to kill certain categories of vulnerable people whose lives have been cast, even in their own minds, in negative stereotypes."

An Italian woman who went into a coma after a heart attack regained consciousness after four months to discover that her husband had just committed suicide.

The 70-year-old man gave up hope that his wife would recover and gassed himself hours before she woke up.

[Reuters, 22 January ] Increasing numbers of older women are asking for IVF treatment in the UK, the Independent reports. Nearly one third of women treated at some IVF clinics are over 40 and there is currently no upper age limit for IVF, though clinics are expected to consider the welfare of the child.

The British Fertility Society has said that an age limit of 50 should be introduced, to correspond with the menopause.

[The Independent, 22 January ] The new Executive Director of UNICEF has begun her five-year term of office, C-Fam reports. It is hoped that Ann Veneman will return the organisation to its original remit of child survival after Carol Bellamy's leadership shifted UNICEF's focus onto rights-based initiatives, sex education and support for abortion.

The British journal The Lancet reported recently: "UNICEF has lost its way during Carol Bellamy's long term of office" and that she "has failed to address the essential health needs of children".

[C-Fam, 21 January ] T he Portuguese Socialist Party is to hold a national referendum on abortion if it is elected as the majority party at the general election next month.

In 1998, the Portuguese turned down an abortion referendum by 51-49%. [, 23 January ] A Catholic church in Colorado has sparked controversy after it buried the ashes of up to 1000 aborted babies.

The mortuary that collects the remains of aborted babies from the Boulder Abortion Clinic has been giving the ashes to the church since 2001, but the clinic director claims that unclaimed ashes are not permitted to be used in a religious ceremony without the clinic's permission. [Zenit, 23 January ]

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