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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 29 November

29 November 2007

weekly update, 29 November Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, is planning a meeting with Catholic MPs to discuss the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill currently before the UK Parliament, The Times newspaper reports. All 64 voting Catholic MPs have been invited to the meeting which will raise 'issues likely to come before the House in the new session of Parliament'. A free vote on the government-sponsored bill is not expected for Labour MPs, but Mr David Amess, chairman of the all-party group on the Holy See, welcomed the Cardinal's action: "I think it is a very good thing. Having been in Parliament when we have had these debates before, on occasions some colleagues have felt very disappointed that, for instance, Church leaders - and that includes the Catholic Church - have not been more vociferous". [Times, 26 November ] Cura, the Catholic Church in Ireland's crisis pregnancy charity, will continue to receive government funding despite recent disagreements over the provision of information on abortion. Cura will receive €2.2 million over the next two years under a new service agreement which states "Any service provider wishing to exercise a conscientious objection to the provision of this information [about abortion referral] may do so. Where a pregnant woman. . . requests act [sic] information, an appropriate referral must be made". The government's Crisis Pregnancy Agency issues a leaflet ('Positive Options') which lists all state-funded agencies including those referring for abortion; however, Mr Martin Long, director of the Catholic Communications Office, said "We don't give the leaflet out, and are not obliged to give out the leaflet under the service level agreement". [Sunday Business Post, 25 November ] BBC journalists have found evidence of illegal trading in abortion-inducing drugs in Britain. An undercover journalist claiming to be pregnant obtained a herbal drug from a Chinese herbalist in London, who was also able to supply the RU486 prescription abortion drug on the black market. She was also able to buy similar drugs smuggled from Turkey and Fiji via Poland. It is illegal in Britain to peddle prescription drugs or for unlicensed persons to aid an abortion. These illegal abortions are said to affect mainly illegal immigrants who fear detection or cannot afford to pay for a legal abortion, and teenagers who are reluctant to go to their doctors. [BBC, 23 November ] Mr Paul Tully, general secretary of SPUC, commented "Many years ago we began warning of the danger of RU486 being distributed illegally. Those calling for a widening of the abortion law could well worsen the problem by creating a culture where abortion is regarded as morally and medically unrestricted. Suggestions like abolishing any need for a medical reason for an abortion are likely to increase the pressures on women in difficult circumstances to resort to abortion, especially when they are not aware of the support available from pro-life groups." [SPUC, 23 November ] The Pope has expressed concern that pro-abortion agencies are undermining family life in Africa. Speaking to the bishops of Kenya, Benedict XVI called on them to remind their people that the right to life is absolute and applies to all without exception. He also called on the Catholic community to support women in crisis pregnancies, and welcome back those who repent of having participated in abortions. [Zenit, 19 November] Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, has criticised the Democrat party's policies on abortion and said that Catholics should not vote for pro-abortion politicians. Speaking to the Boston Globe, the cardinal said that support of such policies by Catholics sometimes "borders on scandal". [Catholic News Service, 15 November ]

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