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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Pro-lifers deported from China after peaceful protest

11 August 2008

American pro-life protesters have been deported from China. Mr Michael McMonagle, national director of Generation Life, Boise, Idaho, Rev Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, Washington DC, and Ms Brandi Swindell, also of Generation Life, were held after demonstrating at the Mao Zedong mausoleum in Beijing, though they were told they were not under arrest. Their visas were revoked, they were threatened with prison if they stayed in the country and they were asked to pay their fares on early flights home to California. [LifeNews, 8 August] The campaigners seem merely to have been protesting peacefully in two places, including against population policy, during the Olympic games there.

Kenya's president has ruled out legalising abortion but the nation's media seems to have ignored this statement. President Mwai Kibaki was speaking at the installation of a new Catholic bishop. Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, had just called the Reproductive Health and Rights Bill an affront to humanity. Dr Stephen Karanja, a retired consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in Kenya, writes: "[The president] said he saw no reason, now, or in the future, why anyone would want to legalise abortion in Kenya." [John Smeaton, 11 August]

The Center for Reproductive Rights in New York City is opposing proposed government measures to defend medical workers' conscientious rights over abortion. The organisation's Ms Nancy Northup said that the planned directive: " ... broadly defines everyone who works at a healthcare establishment as being involved in doing procedures. It allows everybody, whether you are a receptionist or a maintenance person ... to object to doing their jobs because they object to abortion or sterilization. It puts women in the position of not knowing when they go to get healthcare if someone is going to say, 'I am not going to help you here.'" [Reuters, 8 August] The US government seems to be backing down from its previous intention to include the supply of abortifacient birth control among actions to which staff could object without fear of victimisation. [John Smeaton, 8 August] The measure would use the withdrawal of government funding as a way of discouraging discrimination on conscientious grounds. John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, has called on the US administration to stick to its guns.

Stem cells from a baby's umbilical tissue have been used to treat his sister's leukaemia. The umbilical cord of Joshua Thomson, aged seven months, was the right tissue-match to create therapy for Bethanie, three years. The girl, who lives in Scotland, was diagnosed at six months, takes 15 types of medication and cannot yet stand up. [Scotsman, 9 August]

A newspaper has featured a man who unsuccessfully sought euthanasia three years ago and who is now applying to be a student. Mr P Surya, 18, has thrombostenia which causes uncontrollable bleeding if one is injured. The family ran out of money for treatment but a court rejected Mr Surya's petition for euthanasia. He was subsequently helped by benevolent organisations and now hopes to attend college. [Times of India, 9 August]

A rape victim has spoken of her love she has for the child whom she was urged to abort. Miss Elizabeth Cameron, 19, of southern England, was allegedly raped by three men when she was 16. Her father arranged for an abortion and other people also tried to persuade her to have a termination. Her mother opposed an abortion and, when Miss Cameron saw her daughter on a scan, she became emotionally attached to her. She says: "I don't regret [keeping the child] for a moment. Every time I look at Phoebe, I know I made the right decision. I never wanted to end my baby's life just because of how she came to be." [Daily Mail, 9 August]

A black activist has questioned whether Senator Barack Obama, Democrat candidate for US president, really is the Christian he claims to be, given his support for abortion. Ms Star Parker, described as a conservative author, said: "It is inconsistent with the biblical world view to think that not only is abortion okay, but [Mr Obama] goes so far as to support partial-birth abortion." [CNA on EWTN, 7 August]

A synthetic medium for growing embryo-cells may be superior to animal-based substances currently used. Queensland University, Australia, say the artificial proteins they use do not contain viruses and are cheaper. [ABC, 11 August]

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