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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Canadian pro-lifers call for more action over Amnesty's pro-abortion stance

22 August 2007

A Canadian pro-life group, Vote Life, Canada!, has called for Canada's bishops to do more in opposing Amnesty International's position of abortion advocacy. The Bishops previously issued a letter warning AI about the damage a pro-abortion policy could do to relationships. Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, has also criticised the Amnesty International saying it "was founded to protect human rights, yet it now treads upon the most fundamental human right, the right to life". [Catholic News Agency, 21 August] An Australian school has decided to cut ties with Amnesty International over its pro-abortion policy. St Aloysius College in Sydney has axed its Amnesty support group in favour of the new Benenson Society, named after Amnesty's British Catholic founder. Fr Middleton, Head Master of St Aloysius College, said that Amnesty International's new stance on abortion is unacceptable: "[T]his policy explicitly excludes some of the most vulnerable members of society - the 'unborn human' - from its campaigns for human rights." The Benenson Society will maintain a neutral stance over abortion. [Catholic News Agency, 21 August]

Dr Humberto L Vieira of the Brazilian pro-life group, PROVIDAFAMILIA, has accused the Brazilian president Luiz Lula of betraying his commitment to neutrality on abortion. Dr Vieira also claims that President Lula's health minister Jose Gomes Temporao has spoken in favour of widening abortion law, supported US-based campaigns to relax the law in Brazil, and has said that the current law which permits abortion for rape allows abortion on the basis of a woman's request. On 15 August, another pro-life group, Brazil Without Abortion, organised a march through Brasilia against bills being presented by Cida Diogo in the Chamber of Deputies, to introduce abortion for disabled babies and for "therapeutic" reasons. The march drew support from Catholics, Evangelicals and other groups. [LifeSite, 21 August]

Authorities in the Australia state of Victoria are considering a policy in which donors and recipients of embryos from IVF can meet. Professor Ken Daniels from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch has emphasized how such a policy promotes the interests of the child and the families: "It's very important, especially in terms of the Victorian legislation and our legislation here in New Zealand, that offspring have the opportunity to know about their genetic origins." He has also rejected concerns that this will put people off donating embryos because of the increased emotional pressures involved. He said that procedures would be carried out "in a way that's not going to be harmful to any of the parties that were involved." [ABC Australia, 21 August]

A Californian biotechnology company is offering couples who have undergone IVF treatment the possibility of "developing" fertilized embryos into "personalized stem cell lines." Dr Russell Foulk, a member of the company StemLifeLine's board of directors, has said: "The embryonic stem cells could be used to develop cures for diseases like diabetes, lymphoma and Parkinson's." However, StemLifeLine has attracted criticism over its new policy. Professor Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania called it "a gimmick" and questioned the ethics of guaranteeing cures through stem cell development. [ABC America, 21 August]

An article in the English weekly magazine the Economist has called for the Vatican to withdraw from the United Nations. The article stated that "It could renounce its special diplomatic status and call itself what it is - the biggest non-governmental organization in the world." In response, the Vatican issued a response in an Italian newspaper: "Behind the invitation to reduce itself to a non-governmental organization, apart from a lack of understanding of the Holy See's juridical status, there is probably also a reductionist vision of its mission, which is not sectarian or linked to special interests, but is universal and inclusive of all the dimensions of man and humanity." The response also picked up on the most likely objection to the Vatican's presence in the UN: "It does not cease to raise its voice in defense of the dignity of each person and of the sacredness of all human life, above all the most vulnerable." [Chiesa, 22 August]

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