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Defending life from the moment of conception

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update, 12 to 25 April

25 April 2007

update, 12 to 25 April President Bush has pledged to ensure the right to life of all unborn children following the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the country's partial-birth abortion ban. "The ... decision is an affirmation of the progress we have made over the past six years in protecting human dignity and upholding the sanctity of life," he said. "We will continue to work for the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law." Senator Hillary Clinton, a leading Democrat presidential candidate and former First Lady, called the decision an "erosion of constitutional rights." [CNA on EWTN, 19 ] Fr Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, called the ban "a mixed blessing". He said it was a small moral victory but no babies would be saved by the decision "because the abortion industry will just alter their procedures for killing late-term babies and call it by a different name". [CNA on EWTN, 19 April ] In New Jersey, the Legal Centre for the Defence of Life has called on US Attorney Christopher Christie to enforce the statute against a clinic in Englewood where 1,500 partial-birth abortions are performed each year. [LifeSite, 20 April ] A terminally ill woman has withdrawn her legal bid to force doctors to give her a lethal dose of morphine. Kelly Taylor's case was due to be heard in the British High Court next week, but she asked for a postponement so that she could investigate alternative treatments to alleviate her pain, as she is allergic to the drugs usually used for her condition. Her request was rejected, so she had to withdraw it altogether. [This is London, 19 April , and Independent, 19 April ] A campaigning front-page story for the Independent misleadingly asserts that The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has said that so many doctors are refusing to do abortions that it threatens to plunge the abortion service into chaos and a crisis. The claims of a "crisis" belong to Ann Furedi of abortion-provider BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service). Mrs Furedi said "Unless we can address the problem and motivate doctors to train in abortion, we may well face a situation in five years' time in which women's access to abortion is severely restricted. It is our biggest headache." [Independent, 16 April ] The RCOG has responded to the story with a guarded pro-abortion statement saying there is a "slow but growing problem of trainees opting out." [RCOG, 16 April ] John Smeaton, SPUC national director, said: "We are pleased to hear that an increasing number of medical staff are refusing to perform abortions, but this situation is being talked up by those who want nurses or other non-doctors to perform abortion. Doctors with a conscientious objection are still under immense pressure to refer women and girls to colleagues who will perform terminations. Teachers and school nurses can be involved in referring for abortion. We need a coalition of people who will have no part in carrying out abortions or in facilitating access to them. Those people's consciences need to be respected whatever profession they are in." [SPUC, 16 April ] A prestigious London Catholic hospital is to ban abortion-referral and the provision of contraception and IVF after a campaign to restore its Catholic identity. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor ordered the ethical code of the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth to be revised after it emerged that doctors were providing the morning after pill and referring women for abortions. The new code is expected to be agreed by the hospital board next month and has been welcomed by the Restituta Group who campaigned to put an end to practices that contravene Church teaching. [Daily Mail, 16 April ] Immature sperm cells have been created from bone marrow stem cells, according to British scientists. Researchers at the University of Newcastle isolated stem cells from the bone marrow of male volunteers and cultured them in a laboratory, adding a form of vitamin A so that they grew into immature sperm cells. The researchers believe that it may take another 3-5 years of work to produce mature sperm cells. Professor Karim Nayernia, who led the research, said that he hopes the technique could lead to treatment for male infertility. [Guardian, 13 April ] Professor Nayernia also claimed that it may be possible for sperm to be made from women's stem cells, saying that there was evidence that this was possible in mice. The researchers' paper said that the research could "raise profound new possibilities such as the possible creation of a child by combining the genetic material of two women". Critics Professor Robin Lovell Badge and Josephine Quintavalle said that the paper had over-hyped the findings [Telegraph, 13 April ]

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