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Defending life from the moment of conception

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15 July 2005

15 July 2005

15 July 2005 A statement by the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing could be interpreted as a demand for nurses to have sole responsibility for performing some abortions.

Dr Beverley Malone said: "the RCN believes that the discussion on abortion should concentrate on ways to increase access to services in early pregnancy and allow nurses greater involvement in providing services."

SPUC has challenged her to clarify whether the RCN wants the "practitioner" status of nurses to be extended to performing abortions, and whether the membership of the college endorses abortion on demand.

Teresa Lynch, a lecturer in nursing in a London hospital, said: "I am a long-standing RCN member and there is no agreed consensus position of the RCN on abortion. I believe that there is no foundation for Dr Malone's implication that the promotion of easy access abortion and of nurse-abortionists is nursing policy. I reject abortion because nursing is about caring, not killing."

[SPUC, 14 July ] SPUC has welcomed last Saturday's vote in the Church of England's General Synod against legalising active euthanasia.

The debate was in response to Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill.

Anglican cleric Rev Steven Foster, chairman of SPUC Evangelicals, said: "This vote is most welcome as a clear endorsement of the Bible's teaching on the sanctity of human life.The prohibition on killing in the 10 commandments applies equally in our hospitals as everywhere else.When people are seriously ill, the Christian response is to treat them with love and care until natural death.Legalising euthanasia would put unfair pressure on vulnerable patients, their families and those treating them to end life prematurely. Synod has taken a stand for the traditional view of the doctor as the minister of healing and care, not harm or death."

[SPUC, 12 July ] A United States company has developed a new test to ascertain the sex of unborn children. Baby Gender Mentor involves testing the mother's blood for the male Y-chromosome in traces of her baby's DNA.

It can be performed after five weeks of pregnancy - 11 weeks before gender will show on an ultrasound scan - and is believed to be 99.9% accurate.

Although the test's marketers,, say the test is 'for people who are so excited that they just can't wait to find out', some pro-life groups have expressed concern that it may lead to sex-selective abortion because some women who are disappointed with the result would consider aborting.

[Telegraph, 14 July ] Gail Quinn, aide to the US Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, has criticised the ruling of a US Circuit Court of Appeals, Missouri, which declared the partial-birth abortion ban unconstitutional because it contains no exception for a mother's health.

'"The American Medical Association has said that partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary," Ms Quinn said. "To claim it as a constitutional right makes a mockery of the US constitution. There is no place in a civilized society for this cruel and dangerous practice, and we look forward to today's decision being overturned by the US supreme court."

[Zenit, 13 July ] US senators are being urged to support a bill known as the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act, which would foster research into stem cell therapy using umbilical cord blood. Cardinal William Keeler of the US bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities said in a letter to senators that "By helping to establish a nationwide public cord blood bank, this legislation will begin saving more lives almost immediately. By contrast, scientists are now warning against false expectations regarding embryonic stem cells, pointing out that clinical use of those cells might be three to five decades away."

The cardinal also criticised the simultaneously proposed Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which would give funding to embryonic stem cell research, saying "Government has no business forcing taxpayers to become complicit in the direct destruction of human life at any stage. Nor is there any point in denying the scientific fact that human life is exactly what is at stake here." [Zenit, 13 July ]

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