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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Republicans could amend US constitution to ban abortion

27 August 2008

Republicans could amend the US constitution to ban abortion. A draft policy document reiterates a current pledge to protect human life from conception and proposes help for women considering abortion. A poll found two fifths of voters considered abortion policy when voting. Another survey found most Republican voters opposed abortion. [LifeNews, 26 August] Recent opinion research found that nearly 60% of Americans agree with Senator John McCain that human life starts at conception. Zogby surveyed some 1,100 voters after the de facto Republican presidential candidate made the statement during a debate with his opponent in a California church. [LifeNews, 26 August] A Catholic prelate has banned Senator Joe Biden, Democrat vice-presidential candidate, from speaking in church schools, even if he wins. A spokesman for Rt Rev Michael Saltarelli, Bishop of the diocese of Wilmington where Mr Biden lives, reiterated a policy against hosting pro-abortion politicians. [LifeSiteNews, 26 August]

A Catholic bishop says abortion has helped make Britain a violent place. Rt Rev Patrick O'Donoghue, Bishop of Lancaster, writes: "For 41 years we've lived in a state-sponsored culture of death that has killed five million children, and we're now surprised that some of the surviving children have turned out violent with no regard for the sanctity of life[.]" Society held human life cheaply; consciences were being coarsened and darkened; Catholics in his diocese should support pro-life politicians. [Telegraph, 27 August] Bishop O'Donoghue's remarks are part of a document about the Catholic church in England and Wales, on which SPUC's John Smeaton comments in his blog today. [SPUC director, 27 August] The Catholic Archbishop of Mexico City has pointed out the mismatch between a proposed national declaration against organised violence and a law which allows abortion in his city. Cardinal Norberto Rivera supports the declaration but says: "[I]t is a contradiction to sign an accord against violence with great fanfare while at the same time we are threatened with ... violence against the most innocent." The supreme court is due to rule on the law's constitutionality. [Catholic News Agency, 26 August]

An Argentinian archbishop has called for a clamour against the culture of death which threatens the country. Most Rev Hector Aguer spoke on television against an extension of the law to allow abortion in all cases of rape. Current law permits it if the mother is mentally disabled, and he called that measure eugenicist. [Catholic News Agency, 26 August]
People in Britain who persuade women to change their minds about having an abortion could go to prison. An amendment to the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill would make it an offence to give information that caused "the average pregnant woman to take a decision in relation to the termination of her pregnancy she would not have taken otherwise." SPUC thinks the move could be a reaction to its Abortion - Your Right to Know, a leaflet distributed in family doctors' surgeries. The proposed measure would cover material which, like SPUC's leaflet, was totally factual. [LifeSiteNews, 26 August]

A teachers' union in Britain has criticised a proposal by parliamentarians for sex education at the age of four. The NASUWT asked if parents could withdraw their children from such lessons if they became formalised. Mr Chris Keates, general secretary, said the curriculum was overcrowded, teachers would feel "vulnerable and uncomfortable", and health professionals should perform the task. [Western Mail, 27 August]

Delays with IVF allegedly meant that a woman had to have a child created with a donated egg instead of her own. Mrs Greta Mason is suing the state health service in southern England. She says: "I always wanted a baby with my husband but the truth is that this baby is genetically another woman's, and at times during my pregnancy, because the baby is not related to me, I have simply felt like an incubator." The child, a boy, is due to be born soon; the legal case is not concluded. [Daily Mail, 27 August] Our source implies compulsion to use a donated egg, though it is more likely that Mr and Mrs Mason could also have chosen to cease IVF treatment.

The United Kingdom postal authority is to issue a stamp commemorating Marie Stopes (1880-1958). [Telegraph, 22 August] A letter to the Daily Telegraph describes her as "a notorious eugenicist and an anti-Semite who advocated the sterilisation of poor women to promote the welfare of 'the Race'." Mrs Ann Farmer writes that Stopes' birth control campaigns were aimed at the poor and that contemporary feminists feared birth control "would undermine women's rights to refuse unwanted sexual relationships". [Telegraph, 27 August]

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