EU panel attacks Slovakia-Vatican treaty over abortion
5 January 2006
An international panel set up by EU's Commission has attacked a draft treaty between Slovakia and the Vatican which would allow staff in hospitals founded by the Catholic Church to refuse to perform abortions or to be involved in fertility treatments that destroy life. The panel says that the right of conscientious objection would interfere with the "right of all women to receive certain medical services or counselling without any discrimination". The panel, entitled the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights, has announced that if Slovakia accepts the treaty, it will be "violating its obligations" as a member of the EU and said that it would discriminate against non-Christians who would find it more difficult to obtain abortions. [The Guardian, 5 January] Comment: The Guardian's report of this issue reflects its strong anti-Christian, pro-abortion bias, and its support for this campaign to promote abortion.
The Prime Minister of Japan has appealed to his people to have larger families in an attempt to reduce the plummeting birth rate. Mr Koizumi's request came during his New Year press conference where he urged women to be inspired by the fact that it is the Year of the Dog and "produce lots of puppies". Japan's population was reduced by 19,000 last year, and in Tokyo, the birth rate has dwindled to 0.99 children per woman. Mr Koizumi has said repeatedly that he does not have a policy to tackle the problem. [The Times, 5 January]
The journal Science, which published the work of discredited Korean embryonic stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk, has announced that it will retract his paper, in recognition that much of it has found to be fabricated and to have involved unethical procedures. A spokesman for the journal said: "Science will finalize the retraction text and proceed with the final steps of the retraction process only after the SNU (Seoul National University) investigation is completed next week." [Reuters, 4 January]
Pope Benedict XVI has reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Speaking to crowds in his weekly address in St Peter's Square yesterday, he said: "The loving eyes of God look on the human being, considered full and complete at its beginning." [Medical News Today, 5 January]