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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Father of frozen IVF embryos: ECHR ruling is "common sense"

11 April 2007

The father of frozen embryos who were the subject of a European Court decision yesterday on IVF consent has called the ruling "common sense." Mr Howard Johnston said: "It's really a point of principle. I want to choose who, with and when I start a family and the process that we were involved in was around us doing that ... I hope [Ms Natallie Evans, his former partner] is now able to find happiness though other means. There are options open to her that don't involve me." [BBC, 10 April] Ms Evans, who is infertile following treatment for cancer, said in a statement: "I am distraught at the court's decision today. It's very hard for me to accept that the embryos will now be destroyed and that I will never become a mother." [Metro, 10 April]

A law permitting abortion until the 10th week of pregnancy has been ratified in Portugal. The new law will set no restrictions on women seeking an abortion up to the 10th week, but it requires a three-day reflection period before an abortion is performed. After ratifying the law, the president Anibal Cavaco Silva said in a statement that abortion should be the last resort and expressed hope that there would not be a sharp rise in abortions. The law is expected to come into effect next month. [Guardian, 10 April]

The Bio-ethics Committee of the Catholic bishops of Britain and Ireland has welcomed a recent scientific breakthrough that uses adult stem cells to treat heart disease. Researchers led by Sir Magdi Yacoub at Imperial College London have succeeded in growing part of a human heart from bone marrow stem cells. Fr. Paul Murray, the committee chairman, said: "This development vindicates the consistently held position of the Church, of Catholic ethicists and many other experts in the field who have always maintained that the greatest potential for actual cures lay with adult rather than embryonic stem cells." [CNA on EWTN, 4 April]

A Catholic bishop in Toronto has publicly reprimanded a priest who supported the nomination of a pro-abortion politician. Fr Terry Lozynsky, who is Ukrainian, seconded the nomination of Mr Michael Ignatieff, a Liberal politician who supports abortion, at a Liberal Party meeting held at Fr Lozynsky's parish church in Etobicoke. Bishop Stephen Chmilar, Ukrainian Bishop of Toronto and Eastern Canada, wrote in a statement: "Fr. Terry has been reprimanded and a letter to all clergy informing them of the current statutes and regulations regarding involvement in any political process will be sent and reinforced." In a letter accompanying the press release, Fr Lozynsky apologised for his actions, explaining that he had understood it only as a courtesy. He wrote: "I humbly apologize for the problems and embarrassment that I have caused .... I categorically state here that my moral values are the same as the church I represent. I do not support same sex marriages, nor do I support any form of abortion. ... I do not support Mr. Ignatieff's position on these matters." Jim Hughes of Campaign Life Coalition thanked the Bishop for his prompt response. [LifeSite, 4 April]

The family of a pregnant British woman who was killed by a dangerous driver have called for the law to be changed so that the killers of unborn children can be prosecuted. Sarah Hunt, 28, was seven months pregnant with a son, whom she planned to call Connor, when she was knocked down and killed on a Birmingham road. Her nine-year-old son Kieran who was with her was also killed and her seven-year-old son Ryan suffered multiple injuries. The driver, Raja Ibrer Faisel, 19, has been jailed for seven years and banned from driving for five years. Relatives of Ms Hunt have launched an online petition to the Prime Minister to recognise crimes against unborn children. Her partner, Michael Dwyer, said: "If Sarah had gone into labour when she was seven months pregnant there is a chance Connor would have survived, so why was his life not treated as that, a life? It just doesn't seem right. Nothing will ever change what's happened, but I will feel some justice has been done if I can change the law and make sure other killers of unborn babies are prosecuted." [Birmingham Mail, 10 April]

A Texan judge has ruled that a terminally ill baby should be kept on life support. The hospital caring for 17-month old Emilio Gonzalez recommended that he be removed from machines that are keeping him alive. Emilio is believed to have Leigh's Disease and cannot breathe, eat or drink for himself. An attorney for the Gonzalez family, who have been fighting the hospital, described them as "very relieved." [Guardian, 10 April]

The US retail chain Wal-Mart is to force its pharmacists to provide the abortifacient morning after pill in all its stores. The revision overrides previous policy which allowed pharmacists the right to conscientious objection. Planned Parenthood Federation of America called the decision "a huge victory". [LifeSite, 10 April]

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