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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Blackpool among 50 UK towns standing up for life this Saturday

24 April 2008

Supporters of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) in Blackpool, northern England, will form a silent and peaceful human chain on Saturday. Tony Mullett of SPUC explained: "Blackpool is one of 50 places in England, Wales and Scotland taking part in the protest this weekend. We are hoping to get the message across to passing motorists and we should be there about two hours. We chose this date because it is the closest Saturday to the date that the 1967 Abortion Act came into effect - on April 27, 1968. We will be commemorating the lives that have been lost over that 40 years - as to date there have been more than seven million abortions in the UK." "[Blackpool Gazette, 23 April]

A disability rights activist has expressed dismay that Jewish leaders are supporting the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill. Simone Aspis of the Disabled Peoples Council and the Not Dead Yet Campaign, writing in, says that the discrimination against the disabled in the Bill "will bring back the Nazi's Eugenics programme". Ms Aspis points out that equal respect for all human beings is a Yiddish tradition and that the equal right to life of all human beings is protected in international law. [Totally Jewish, 22 April]

Lesbian couples who are parents of children conceived through IVF are to be given equal legal status to heterosexual couples who are parents of IVF children in the Australian state of New South Wales. John Hatzistergos, the state's attorney-general, said: "The current law discriminates against these children who, at the moment, have a relationship with the birth mother's partner that is not recognised by law". The amendments to the law to implement the government's announcement are due to be debated in the state parliament later this year. [PinkNews, 22 April] Similar provisions form part of the British government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill.

A body which advises the Irish government has recommended that embryonic stem cell research should be allowed in Ireland. The Irish Council for Bioethics, an independent state-funded body, said that human embryos do not have "full moral status" equal to other human beings. The council recommends that stem cells should be allowed to be taken from embryos left-over after IVF cycles, but that the creation of embryos specifically for research was not currently justified. [Irish Times, 23 April] The Irish constitution recognises the equal right to life of unborn children from conception onwards.

Pope Benedict XVI has paid tribute to Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who died on Saturday. In his eulogy at the Cardinal's funeral held yesterday in Rome, the Pope said the late Cardinal had dedicated "his entire life to affirming the truth". [CNA, 23 April] Dr Tom Ward, an SPUC member and president of the National Association of Catholic Families (NACF), attended the funeral on SPUC's behalf. Dr Ward said the Pope "presented Cardinal Lopez Trujillo with his motto 'Veritas in caritate' ('Truth in charity') as the exemplar for the Church and for those in the pro-family and pro-life movement" and "spoke of the courage with which the cardinal had defended the non-negotiable values of human life." [SPUC director blog, 23 April]

A Jehovah's Witness has refused consent for her twins to be given a blood transfusion, the Irish high court heard today. The mother, who has not been named by our source, is reported to be 32 weeks pregnant and severely anaemic. The authorities are expected to seek a court order allowing the twins to be given a blood transfusion after they are born. "[Irish Examiner, 23 April] Jehovah's Witnesses object to blood transfusions on religious grounds.

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