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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Pro-lifers demand answers from convert Tony Blair

8 January 2008

SPUC has asked Mr Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, if he will repudiate some of his previous political actions now that he has become a Catholic. John Smeaton, SPUC national director, has today written to Mr Blair to ask him to admit that he was wrong to support abortion up to birth, abortions on girls as young as 11 without parents' knowledge, requiring doctors to dehydrate their patients to death, the promotion of abortion as a human right and destructive experiments on human embryos. John Smeaton said: "While many of our Catholic members will be pleased to hear of anyone's conversion to their church, we have concerns about how Mr Blair behaved. This is an opportunity for him to come clean and give witness to the pro-life stance, which we earnestly hope he has now embraced. We would hope that, in his various new roles on the world stage, Mr Blair might try to undo some of the harm he has done." [SPUC, 11 January]

American researchers claim that they can generate stem cell lines from human embryos without killing the embryos. The method, developed by Dr Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology, involved removing a cell from an embryo at the 8-cell stage, and culturing stem cells from it. [Times, 11 January] In general, laboratory embryos do not have high likelihood of ever being born - especially if they are frozen, as in Dr Lanza's experiment. Many are discarded or used in IVF which means they are at serious risk. There are also ethical objections to the creation and manipulation of human life in the laboratory.

Senior churchmen in Italy have supported the opening of the country's abortion law for debate. Mr Sandro Bondi, a member of the Forza Italia party, has proposed a law to ban abortions after the 90th day of pregnancy, which are currently allowed when the mother's life is in danger. Catholic opposition Senator Paola Binetti said "Bondi's motion is a great step toward justice.'' [CNA on EWTN, 8 January]

A cardinal in India has said that he supports a call for an international ban on abortion. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, said: "I wholeheartedly welcome and support a moratorium on abortion," and added that the move reflects the "necessity that the international community is sensitized to creating and building a culture of life." [CWNews on EWTN, 7 January]

Private abortion clinics in Spain are on strike to protest against arrests by following government inspections and alleged persecution by pro-life activists - but they are ready to provide abortion for "emergency" cases. Following the arrest last month of Carlos Morin, a gynaecologist who reportedly offered to perform an abortion on a journalist who said she was seven months pregnant, local authorities inspected other abortion clinics and arrested at least 12 people on suspicion of performing illegal abortions. About 40 clinics, which provide most of Spain's abortions, were expected to participate in a five day strike. [International Herald Tribune, 8 January]

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