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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Amnesty International is now officially pro-abortion

21 August 2007

The BBC has reported that Amnesty has 'ended abortion neutrality'. AI's new policy is said to support access to abortion in cases of rape, incest or violence, or where the pregnancy endangers the mother's life or health, and to be influenced by Amnesty's work in areas where rape is widespread or where women can be subject to penalties for having an abortion. The BBC also reported the 'outrcry' of Christian churches, especially the Catholic Church, in response. [BBC, 18 August] The Rt Rev Michael Evans, Catholic bishop of East Anglia, has resigned his long-standing and active membership of Amnesty International. "If Amnesty International becomes an organisation which affirms the right to abortion, even under certain circumstances, it is free democratically to do so. But it cannot expect those of us who are just as passionate about the human rights of the unborn child to feel at ease being part of such an organisation... It is this move away from neutrality that is causing the problem" the bishop told the BBC. [BBC, 19 August] SPUC political secretary Anthony Ozimic commented, "Everyone knows that allowing abortion for one reason leads to abortion being regarded a right for any reason. Abortion doesn't free rape victims from fear, threat and coercion - rape is a violation that can't be undone, and abortion adds a second violation to the first one. Amnesty claim that they do not impose beliefs, yet abortion imposes the beliefs of the strong, the born, upon the weak, the unborn, to the point of death. The right to life of unborn children does not come from a specific theology but is enshrined in the fundamantal human rights law of states at the international level." The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has commented on Amnesty International's new policy to promote abortion in some cases. Men and women of the Church throughout the world have already made their stark opposition to this decision clear. Violence cannot be answered by further violence, murder with murder... for even if the child is unborn it is still a human person... It has a right to dignity as a human being. We cannot ever destroy life. We must always save life even if it is the fruit of violence". The Cardinal also made clear the Church's commitment to the dignity of women and her opposition to all forms of violence against women. [LifeSite, 20 August] The Ireland affiliate of Amnesty International has refused to back its new pro-abortion policy. Noeleen Hartigan, the AI Ireland director, has told the Irish Times that her branch is opting out of supporting the policy, since backing the legalisation of abortion in cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother's life would be contrary to Ireland's pro-life laws.[LifeNews, 19 August]

A new contraceptive device known as Mirena is said to be 99.9% effective, more so than the pill or standard coil. The 'intrauterine system' is recommended because it administers a lower dose of contraceptive hormone than the pill, and, unlike the coil, prevents bleeding. The device works by preventing fertilisation and in some cases suppressing ovulation, but also by making implantation of the conceived embryo impossible. The NHS is said to be failing to promote Mirena because it is considerably more expensive than other contraceptive methods. [Scotsman, 21 August]

An Irish politician and President of the Irish Association of Suicidology has warned against a 'slippery slope' to widespread euthanasia, saying that the example of the Netherlands shows that legalising euthanasia can lead to a situation in which "there is a blurring between voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. It is possible that the elderly (especially those who are elderly and rich) become dispensable". Mr Dan Neville also said that Irish courts are likely to face a court case challenging existing laws against assisting a suicide in the near future. [Irish Examiner, 21 August]

The State Parliament of New South Wales, Australia, has passed legislation allowing the cloning of human embryos for research purposes. The legislation also authorises the creation of human-animal hybrids, the use of ova from aborted baby girls to create embryos, and the creation of embryos from more than two donors. Morris Iemma, New South Wales Premier, has also announced a grant of $500,000 for the first scientists to succeed in cloning a human being, and an $11.5 million state fund to promote cloning and embryonic stem cell research. [LifeSite, 20 August]

Pope Benedict XVI is likely to call for a greater respect for human life in Austria when he visits that country in September. Cardinal Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna, told Vatican Radio when he visited the Pope to discuss the trip that the "great wound" of lack of respect for human life "exists in many European countries, but above all in ours, in Austria, where the 'yes' to life -- whether to its beginning or its natural end -- is more and more up for discussion". He added that the Church in Austria is active in initiatives providing alternatives to abortion and euthanasia. [Zenit, 19 August]

A UK woman is the world's oldest natural mother, having given birth at 59 years of age without any fertility treatment, it emerged yesterday. Dawn and Ray Brooke's son was born on 20 August 1997 in Guernsey but his parents decided not to publicise the birth. Mr Brooke, now 74, said the pregnancy had been unplanned and came as a shock. "We're overjoyed to have our son. We've been hugely fortunate. He's such a fantastic boy" he told newspapers. [Telegraph, 20 August]

A driver has been given an eight-year gaol sentence and banned from driving for the same period after his reckless driving led to the injury of a pregnant woman and the death of her child. Stephen Tschuchno crashed into a tree as he took a turning at high-speed, injuring his passenger Abigail Collins, who was 33 weeks pregnant. Her child was delivered by emergency caesarean section but died of multiple injuries shortly afterwards. [Injury Watch, 18 August]

South African government committees are holding public hearings on a bill that would allow nurses to perform abortions. The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act was originally barred by South Africa's supreme court on the grounds that there had not been sufficient public consultation, and ordered the legislature to carry out hearings before presenting the bill again. Doctors for Life International, which opposed the original bill, welcomed the hearings and also said that one of its main concerns was that the proposed law "does not recognize either a doctor or a nurse's right to refuse to do an abortion based on their conscientious objection". [LifeNews, 17 August]

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