Pro-lifers quiz MPs on abortion stance
17 September 2007
The Observer reports that British pro-life campaigners are questioning MPs on their stance on abortion in the run-up to the proposed amendments to the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill. Regarding the time limit for some abortions, Mr Jim Dobbin, MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, said: "We'll be seeking 13 weeks because that's when the embryo itself is seen to be almost fully developed and you begin to see movement, the eyelids fluttering, yawning and touching." Dr Evan Harris, secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Choice and Sexual Health Group, has criticised the proposed questionnaire: "The way they have done this is a trick designed to trap MPs into answering loaded or misleading questions in a way many MPs will not want to stick to once they see the full picture." [Observer, 16 September] SPUC has pointed out that in the current pro-abortion-dominated Parliament, efforts to amend the Abortion Act may lead to more rather than fewer abortions. For example, any reduction in the 24 week threshold is likely to be offset by wider exceptions allowing more abortions up to birth.
The Vatican has issued a definitive statement over the treatment of patients in a persistent non-responsive state. In response to questions from the US bishops' conference, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has affirmed that as long as such patients in a "vegetative state" can assimilate it, they are to be fed and given water. A commentary from the CDF states: "If [patients] are not provided artificially with food and liquids, they will die, and the cause of their death will be neither an illness nor the 'vegetative state' itself, but solely starvation and dehydration. At the same time, the artificial administration of water and food generally does not impose a heavy burden either on the patient or on his or her relatives." [CDF, 17 September and CDF Commentary]
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has called Britain a "broken society," and said: "The nation generally is getting more unhappy about the high level of abortion in this country. People are not happy about abortion as a back-stop to contraception. It's not like having a tooth out." This statement comes after claims that the majority of women are opposed to attempts to liberalise the abortion law. [Daily Mail, 15 September]
The Anglican Bishop of Rochester, England, has spoken out against proposals to make IVF available for single women and lesbians. Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said: "Children need parents of both genders. Particularly, boys need fathers for the sake of security, identity and masculinity and relating to people of the same sex and the other sex." The BBC quotes the leader of a homosexual youth project, Jess Wood, who criticised the bishop and said: "Most women want to be mothers and lesbians are no different from any other woman." [BBC, 14 September] Bishop Nazir-Ali was previously a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.