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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 31 May to 6 June

6 June 2006

weekly update, 31 May to 6 June Ireland is planning to contribute over £3m to the UN Population Fund. Conor Lenihan, Minister of State for Development Co-operation and Human Rights, confirmed that the contribution is part of a larger donation of £43.5m to the UN development fund. He said, "Our contributions to the UN have been increasing steadily in recent years. UN leadership is essential to meeting some of the greatest challenges of our time including combating HIV/AIDS, protecting human rights, supporting victims of international or civil conflict, and developing democratic and accountable systems of government." [Evening Echo, 2 June ] Patrick Buckley of European Life Network (ELN), Dublin, said: "ELN has on various occasions informed the Irish Government and has given them written evidence that UNFPA, despite their protestations to the contrary, have been complicit in China's infamous one child policy which has resulted in the slaughter of countless millions of Chinese girls. The evidence submitted to the Irish Government was a copy of that on which the US acted decisively to de-fund UNFPA. Unlike the US, however, the Irish Government has failed either to accept the information presented or independently to verify the facts of this appalling and unacceptable policy. European Life Network appeals once more to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to act in accordance with the Irish Constitution and withdraw all funding from UNFPA effective immediately." The bpas (formerly the British Pregnancy Advisory Service) has said that the abortion pill RU-486, mifepristone, accounted for nearly a third of the 32,000 abortions it provided in 2005 to women in the first nine weeks of pregnancy, making bpas the single biggest provider of the abortion pill in Europe. Ms Ann Furedi, chief executive of bpas said that demand for the pill has "taken off" since they started allowing women to complete the abortion process at home. She said that "what makes it attractive to women" is that "it is the woman having the abortion rather than a doctor doing it to them." Michaela Aston, spokeswoman for the Life organisation, said: "RU-486 is a powerful and dangerous cocktail of drugs." She noted that it had been responsible for the deaths of at least 10 women worldwide. [The Times 29 May ] Babies should be cloned with genetic modification in order to prevent the birth of children with serious diseases, according to a newly published book by Professor Ian Wilmut. In his book he recommends cloning an identical twin of an embryo with a genetic disease but with the faulty gene corrected. The original embryo would then be destroyed. Professor Wilmut, who led the team that cloned Dolly the sheep, said, "I am extremely concerned about the effects on a child of being a clone of another person and I oppose it. However, an early embryo is not a person." [The Telegraph, 5 June ] Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that, between 1996 and 2004, more than 20 women had abortions at later than 20 weeks of pregnancy because their babies had been diagnosed as having club feet. Another four babies were aborted in the nine year period because they had extra digits or webbed feet. The charity Antenatal Results and Choices defended the abortions. The director of ARC, Ms Jane Fisher, said: "This is not part of a move towards designer babies. These are difficult and painful issues." Sue Banton of Steps, a support charity for parents of children with foot disabilities, expressed disquiet. [The Times 29 May ] An Italian minister has said that he has withdrawn Italy's signature from a European ethics document signed by the Vatican which aims to restrict embryonic stem cell research. The document, which was signed by the government of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is opposed to spending taxpayer funds on embryonic research. Research Minister Fabio Mussi has been criticised by members of the opposition and by the Catholic Church for withdrawing Italy's signature from the document. Family Minister Rosy Bindi that he was not informed of the Minister Mussi's intention and that he had "reasons to doubt that it was a collective decision." [Life News, 31 May ] Police in Wales are investigating claims that a man travelled to a Swiss clinic for an assisted death. Detective Chief Inspector Peter Azopardi of South Wales Police said, "Swansea CID are currently investigating an allegation that a Swansea man in his 40s attended a clinic in Switzerland for an assisted death...The inquiries are still ongoing and will result in a file being compiled for consideration by the Crown Prosecution Service." [BBC News, 1 June ]

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