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Defending life
from conception to natural death


weekly update, 8 to 14 November

14 November 2006

weekly update, 8 to 14 November The pro-life cause has suffered a political setback in the United States following the results of the mid-term elections for Congress. The Democrats have won control of the Senate and of the House of Representatives from the Republicans. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "the Democrats have control of the Senate, a pro-abortion majority may well be in a position to block any presidential nominee to the Supreme Court who might vote to overturn Roe v Wade." In a referendum held in South Dakota, voters rejected a law, passed by the legislature last winter, that would have banned abortion under almost all circumstances. The referendum was held as a result of a petition launched by supporters of abortion rights. [Washington Post 8 November] In another referendum, voters in Missouri approved a proposal to allow embryonic stem cell research. [Guardian, 8 November ] Attempts to establish parental notification for abortion were defeated in referenda in California and Oregon [CNN, 8 November ] The US Supreme Court has heard arguments about whether to uphold the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, passed in congress and signed by President Bush in 2003. Those seeking to strike down the law dispute almost every aspect of the case, including the name of the procedure. With the appointments of Justices Roberts and Alito, the result will depend on the vote of Justice Kennedy, and both sides are expecting his support. [Guardian 8 November; ] [LifeSite 8 November] Researchers at an IVF clinic in Lisbon, Portugal, have reported that women who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day are less likely to become pregnant as result of treatment, even using donated eggs. They conclude that nicotine adversely affects the lining of the womb. [Reuters 9 November] A group seeking to lift all age restrictions on non-prescription sales in US of the morning-after pill, Plan B, has been given the right to read communications between the White House and officials of the Food and Drug Administration. [Guardian 9 November] Members of the Gift of Life foundation in Malta are urging their parliamentarians to put their pro-life claims into practice by giving constitutional rights to unborn children. Abortion is still illegal in Malta, but the foundation believes this could change, unless a constitutional amendment is made, stating that the right to life begins at conception. The organizers have adopted '+9' as their pro-life symbol, representing the nine months of life spent in the womb, and would like to export it globally. [Lifesite 7 November] By a narrow majority, the Australian senate has relaxed a previous law governing stem cell research, so that cloning for experimental purposes would be allowed. Two amendments were passed, one to increase the penalty for flouting safeguards and the other to ban the creation of human-animal hybrids. [Sci-Tech Today 7 November] Bishop Jesus Sanz Montes of Huesca, Spain, has this week criticised a proposed law on medical research, saying that it takes the place of God in taking decisions about who will live and who not. He stressed that the Church is not opposed to scientific advances, but to those which include the elimination of existing human beings. In a statement, the Spanish Bishops' Conference said: "History itself has condemned this science in the past and it will do so in the future, not only because it is deprived of the light of God, but also because it is deprived of humanity." [EWTN 7 November]

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