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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 13 to 19 June

19 June 2007

weekly update, 13 to 19 June The number of abortions carried out in Britain continues to rise and has exceeded 200,000 for the first time, according to figures for England and Wales published by the Department of Health. [Department of Health, 19 June] SPUC has warned that the promotion of early abortion is putting the most vulnerable women at risk and has called on the Government to stop promoting abortion, particularly secret abortions for minors, and to end pro-abortion sex education. Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, said: "Most people agree that there are far too many abortions already, and will be appalled at the latest increases. Unborn children deserve our care and protection from the earliest stages of pregnancy, and these figures reflect a tragedy of vast proportions for women and families. Gordon Brown [the next UK prime minister] should end the Labour government's policy of rushing women as quickly as possible through the abortion mill, in its frenzy to cut waiting times. " [SPUC, 19 June] The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has refused to let a wheelchair-user present a petition on the infanticide of disabled babies. Officials told Alison Davis, leader of the No Less Human disability rights group, that she could not come in because she would need someone to push her wheelchair, and the RCOG would only let one person into its London headquarters. Alison Davis said: "It would be comical if it weren't also tragic that the RCOG, which has asked for a debate on the killing of babies with disabilities such as spina bifida, won't let me, a disabled person, hand over our petition which has some 28,000 signatures. Neither I nor my carer is a threat to anyone." Ms Davis has spina bifida. The group is determined that Ms Davis should present the petition to the RCOG in person one day. [SPUC, 13 June ] The Vatican has urged Catholics not to donate money to Amnesty International because of its support for abortion. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said there should be "No more financing of Amnesty International after the organisation's pro-abortion about-turn." Kate Gilmore, Amnesty's deputy secretary general, accused the Church of misrepresenting its policy, claiming that Amnesty was not promoting abortion as a universal right but, rather, as a woman's right to choose in cases such as rape, incest or when their health is at risk. [BBC, 13 June ] Amnesty's Irish section says it has decided to retain a neutral policy on abortion. [UK Fundraising, 18 June ] Patrick Buckley of European Life Network, Dublin, said: "Amnesty are trying to have things both ways. The directors of the Irish branch are distancing themselves from the new international pro-abortion policy because they know it will severely diminish their fundraising efforts. They know the cardinal's call will be heeded by the Catholic community which donates the vast majority of Amnesty's Irish income and which amounted to €1.6 million in 2004." Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, has called on British politicians to study the Catholic Church's teaching on life issues. The cardinal made a statement regarding the forthcoming Day for Life in England and Wales, which will take place on 1 July with the theme 'blessed is the fruit of your womb'. He said: "I would urge all Catholics, especially those who hold positions of public responsibility, to educate themselves about the teaching of the Church, and to seek pastoral advice so that they can make informed decisions with consistency and integrity. The Catholic Church believes that every life has been created by God in his own image and likeness. This means that all life is sacred, with value and meaning at every stage and in every condition, from the moment of conception to the point of natural death. It is for this reason that the Church strongly opposes abortion because it is the taking of an innocent human life." [Zenit, 13 June ] Advice to the British government warns of a crisis in teenage sexual health. The Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV blames alcohol, drugs and celebrity-culture for the UK's high rate of teenage pregnancy and sexual infection. The group, which includes the chief executive of Fpa (formerly the Family Planning Association), called for more widely available condoms. The government says sexual health is a priority. [BBC, 15 June ]

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