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Defending life from the moment of conception

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SPUC warns of Obama danger

1 August 2008

SPUC has warned of the dangers of a victory for Senator Barack Obama in the US presidential elections. John Smeaton, national director, points out that Mr Obama will resume funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which supports forced abortion overseas. He writes: "Reinstating funding for UNFPA will gravely damage America's reputation worldwide. Under the current president, the US has done a lot of good work to protect the unborn overseas and an Obama victory would throw all that away. He will also do immense damage in his own country. Mr Obama has said that, if elected, he will immediately sign the Freedom of Choice Act which would enshrine abortion in US law and overturn all state-based restrictions. No wonder the Christian Defense Coalition has called him the abortion president." John Smeaton warns that Dr Condoleezza Rice, a suggested Republican running-mate for Senator John McCain, does not share what is reported to be Mr McCain's position on abortion. [SPUC director, 31 July]

More than nine out of every 10 unborn babies diagnosed with Down's syndrome in Spain is aborted. The Women's Help Line Foundation of Madrid reportedly says that aborting the disabled breaches the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Spain has signed. Article 10 of the convention says: "States Parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others." [Catholic News Agency, 31 July]

The leader of Peru's Catholics has urged the government to resist international pressure to liberalise abortion law. Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima, was speaking in his cathedral at an independence day service attended by the president and other national leaders. Referring to pro-abortion organisations, he said: "These minority groups, which make a lot of noise in the media and receive millions from overseas, seek to intimidate the average citizen and push for the legalisation of new forms of abortion, under the pretext of 'reproductive health' and other slogans that lead to confusion." The right to life was fundamental. [Catholic News Agency, 29 July]

Italy's lower house of parliament has censured judges in Milan who ruled that a disabled woman did not need to be given food or fluid by tube. The senate is expected to approve a similar motion today in the case of Ms Eluana Englaro, 37, whose father wants her sustenance stopped. Public prosecutors have also appealed against the ruling. [Reuters, 31 July]
An elderly patient's skin cells have been used to create motor neurons. The woman in her 80s has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a chronic neurodegenerative disease, and researchers in New York and Massachusetts used a technique developed in Japan to perform genetic reprogramming. Our source says the work could give "insight" on such illnesses. [Nature, 31 July] Another source suggests applications with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, with scientists perhaps growing replacement tissue. [Guardian, 31 July]

Two American bishops have corrected views on assisted feeding expressed by a bioethicist at a Catholic medical school. Dr John Hardt of Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University of Chicago, wrote approvingly about how his father had asked not to be given food or fluid if he were in a so-called vegetative state. Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia and chairman of the American bishops' pro-life committee, and Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, chairman of the bishops' doctrine committee, write that "a simple dislike for survival in a helpless state" does not constitute an excessive burden. [LifeSiteNews, 31 July]

The British government is looking at tightening the law on websites which encourage people to kill themselves. Some sites show ways of committing suicide, and ministers could force hosting companies to close them. Unidentified campaigners are said to claim that 30 suicides were linked to websites or chatrooms. Suicides in England are reportedly at a record low. [Independent, 1 August]

A public lawyer in Kansas is pursuing a unique prosecution of Planned Parenthood. Mr Phill Kline has made more than 100 criminal charges against a facility at Overland Park. He claims illegal late abortions were performed and reports were forged. Mr Kline is campaigning to keep his job as district attorney. [Kansas City Star, 31 July]

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