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Defending life from the moment of conception

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10 March 2005

10 March 2005

10 March 2005 A US federal appeals court has ruled that men whose wives have been forcibly sterilised under China's one-child policy are entitled to political asylum in the US.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote: "Involuntary sterilisation irrevocably strips persons of one of the important liberties we possess as humans: our reproductive freedom." The ruling surrounds the case of Quili Qu whose pregnant wife went into hiding when she was refused a permit to have a child so as to avoid a forced abortion.

They received the permit three years after their baby was born and when the authorities realised the age of the child Mrs Qu was arrested, restrained and forcibly taken to hospital for sterilisation.

[The Guardian, 10 March ] Romanian police are investigating a Bucharest fertility clinic which sends mail-order human embryos and eggs to British couples, amid concerns that Romanian women are being offered financial incentives to donate their eggs.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority previously held an investigation into the trade but concluded that the amount of money being offered to women fell within UK limits for 'expenses'.

However, both campaigners and fertility experts have voiced concerns that Romanian women are being exploited to bypass the reluctance of British women.

[The Scotsman, 10 March ] Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas has signed a bill into law requiring parental consent before an under-18 undergoes an abortion.

The law contains some loopholes that would allow a secret abortion to be carried out, including incest and a judge determining, through a hearing, that the girl is mature enough to consent to an abortion.

On signing the law, Gov. Huckabee said: "Life is sacred. It's special" and described the lawmakers who backed the bill as "courageous."

[Medical News Today, 8 March ] Britain has said that it will ignore a UN declaration urging governments to ban all forms of human cloning.

Britain voted against the declaration, which passed 84 votes to 34 with 37 abstentions. John Reid, the Health Secretary stated: "The UN declaration is non-binding and will make no difference whatsoever to the position of stem cell research in the UK; therapeutic cloning will continue to be allowed."

[The Guardian, 9 March ] A Catholic priest in Portugal has been attacked by journalists and dissenting Catholics for refusing to give Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Father Nuno Serras Pereira wrote in a Lisbon newspaper that priests are not permitted to give Communion "to those Catholics who stubbornly and manifestly persist in defending, contributing to, or promoting the death of innocent human beings."

Media reports have described his comments as "exaggerated, dark and opportunistic" and "too difficult to hear".

[CWNews, 9 March ] The UK's Nuffield Council on Bioethics is conducting a public consultation on the treatment of premature babies.

The council consists of medical and legal experts, charities, ethicists and patient groups.

Online submissions can be posted onto the council's website until June.

Helen Watt, the director of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics commented: "Treatment should never be withheld with the intention of ending a life we think is 'worthless'. Life always has value for everyone, disabled and able-bodied alike."

[BBC, 10 March ] The Irish Government has said that it will ignore advice from the Irish Human Rights Commission (HRC) to 'introduce legislation to define the circumstances in which abortion can currently be legally carried out in Ireland,' the Irish Times reports.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said that the Government "has no plans for legislation in regards to abortion." Two members of the Irish HRC dissented from the recommendation, on the grounds that it would 'violate the human rights of unborn children up to the time of birth, denying them the right to life, dignity and equality, and would be inconsistent with the democratic will, since the referendum of 2002 demonstrated that the majority of voters oppose such legislation."

[Irish Times, 8 March ] A man charged with the murder of his disabled son has described witnessing the abortion of his second child. Andrew Wragg smothered 10-year-old Jacob who had Hunter's Syndrome.

Whilst giving evidence to the court he told how his unborn son, Henry, was diagnosed with the same condition.

He and his wife Mary were given two hours to decide what to do. He said: "We trusted the professional who said we did not want to bring another Hunter['s syndrome carrier] into the world because of the terrible things that would happen to them." Describing the abortion Wragg said: "They put a 2ft-long needle straight into Mary's stomach, into the baby. They were stabbing around trying to find it, which they eventually did. It was horrific... I think if I had known, I would not have chosen to be there." [This is London, 8 March ]


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