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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 7 to 12 June

12 June 2007

weekly update, 7 to 12 June A cross-party coalition of MPs is to push for changes to current abortion legislation to mark the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act in Britain. Moves to increase access to abortion include removing the need for two doctors to sign an abortion referral and the extension of the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. Church leaders and politicians in Northern Ireland have condemned proposals by Westminster to impose abortion on Northern Ireland and are expected to resist any change in the law. Fr Tim Bartlett, the secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Commission on Social Affairs in Northern Ireland, said: "We are opposed to these measures on two grounds. Firstly, there is the ethical opposition to abortion and our support for the right to life for the unborn child. Secondly, that the views of the democratically elected representatives of Northern Ireland be taken into account." [Observer, 10 June] Liam Gibson of SPUC Northern Ireland said: "The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland and their elected representatives are opposed to any liberalisation of their abortion laws. Despite this there is a very real threat that the pro-abortion lobby in Britain could succeed in having the Abortion Act imposed upon the Province. It is therefore vitally important that everyone, in Britain as well as in Northern Ireland, should write to their MPs and ask them to urge the government not to support any attempt to extend the Abortion Act but instead respect the position of the Northern Ireland Assembly on this issue. It would be an appalling tragedy if the violence of the Troubles was replaced by the violence of abortion." Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, has said that the Scottish parliament should be able to make its own laws on issues such as abortion. The cardinal said that the outcome of the recent election, in which the Labour party had their worst result in Scotland in a generation, showed that there was "a lot of disgruntled people". He said: "It was as if Scotland wasn't grown-up enough to deal with something like Trident [nuclear submarines], adoption or abortion, and I think voters were fed up of that." [Scotsman, 12 June ] A British parliamentary committee has been meeting discuss a bill on the use of human tissue and embryos. The Joint Committee on the Draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, which was recently published by the Department of Health, will hold hearings and receive written evidence over the coming weeks. The committee is expected to produce a report making recommendations to the Government by the 25th of next month. [UK Parliament, 12 June ] A woman in Britain has complained after a Muslim pharmacist allegedly refused to sell her the morning-after pill and she was required to wait 15 minutes for another pharmacist to come on duty. A spokesman for Sainsbury's confirmed that pharmacists had the right to refuse to sell morning-after pills for moral or religious reasons. [Evening Post, Nottingham, 9 June ]

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