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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 19 to 25 April 2006

25 April 2006

Weekly Update, 19 to 25 April 2006 Comments on life-related issues by Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, the retired archbishop of Milan, in an Italian newspaper, have attracted widespread attention in both the Catholic and secular media.

[L'espresso, 21 April ] Some reports interpret Cardinal Martini's comments as at variance with Catholic teaching on the beginning of human life, abortion and assisted procreation. Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life is quoted as saying: "[C]ardinal [Martini] used words that ought to be studied; one should not react impulsively".

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, is reported to have said that that he was "surprised" and "perplexed" by Cardinal Martini's comments but wished to read them carefully before responding.

[CWNews, 21 April ] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, said: "Cardinal Martini's comments, made in a lengthy and substantial dialogue with a bioethicist, have given rise to great concern. They are clearly of importance, and SPUC is studying them carefully."

More than 150 SPUC supporters took part in a pro-life witness in Parliament Square, London, on Saturday (the 22nd). They listened to speakers giving testimony to the pain and damage which abortion had done them.

They gave a message of hope - that help was available to help women avoid abortion as well as for those who have had abortions.

The testimonies were led by Mrs Georgette Forney of Pennsylvania who leads a ministry in America which performs similar acts of witness and offers resources for those hurt by abortion.

As well as the London event, SPUC held its pro-life chains in more than 40 places around Britain. An event similar to the London one will be held in Glasgow next Saturday (the 29th).

[SPUC ] Teen pregnancy rates in a British city have risen to record highs, according to new figures.

Officials in Sheffield started a 10-year project in 1999 to halve its teenage pregnancy rates but numbers have continued to rise.

South Yorkshire was singled out for criticism by the government after it was shown to have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the country.

Steve Slack, the director for HIV and sexual health in Sheffield, still maintains that the target of halving numbers will be met by 2010.

[Yorkshire Post Today, 18 April ] The vice-minister of the Chinese Family Planning Commission has described the country's one-child policy as "a great achievement".

In a substantial report into the policy and gender imbalance by major US TV news programme '60 Minutes', broadcast in the run-up to the US visit of Chinese president Hu Jintao, Ms Zhao Baige said that the prevention of an estimated 300 million people being added to the population has helped to make China an economic success.

She refused to discuss the possibility of putting restrictions on abortion, which is currently legal up to birth.

[CBS News, 16 April ] The recently-issued 2005 human rights report from the US State Department has described China's one-child policy as "a coercive birth limitation policy, in some cases resulting in forced abortion and sterilization".

Congressman Christopher Smith, addressing a Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations yesterday, described the human rights situation in China as "abysmal."

[US State Department, 19 April ] An Australian hospital which carried out an abortion at 32 weeks because the unborn child had dwarfism is under investigation by the Medical Practitioners Board.

The Royal Women's Hospital in Victoria has been ordered by the Victorian Court of Appeals to release the medical records of the woman, known as Mrs X.

She had the abortion six years ago, after learning that her unborn child may have had skeletal dysplasia, which is known as dwarfism.

The hospital appealed against the original ruling to disclose her records on the grounds of patient confidentiality. [The Age, 21 April ]


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