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Defending life from the moment of conception

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National Right to Life opposes Barack Obama

5 June 2008

National Right to Life wants to stop Senator Barack Obama, the de facto Democrat candidate, from being elected US president. Ms Karen Cross, political director, says he would vigorously promote abortion. Mr Obama would reportedly sign an act to make abortion federal law, overturning states' restrictions and re-legalising partial-birth abortion. [LifeNews, 4 June] Priests for Life has produced questions to be put to candidates and voters. Pro-abortionists would be asked if, by abortion, they meant a procedure which dismembered a living child (supported by descriptions from testimonies and text-books). Anti-abortion candidates would be asked what they would actually do to implement their beliefs. [LifeNews, 4 June]

A Catholic prelate has told politicians to examine their consciences over how they voted on the British government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Preaching at Mass in the Westminster parliament-building, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, reminded MPs of their duty to protect the common good. He said: "... the vast majority of politicians have given support to various attacks on human life with apparent lack of reproach from conscience." [Telegraph, 5 June]

The Catholic Bishop of Lancaster, England, has lamented the cheapening of human life. Rt Rev Patrick O'Donoghue said: "Every embryonic human person is a wonder of creation, who possesses the inherent right to realise his or her potential for creativity, love, self-sacrifice, and joy." There was no evidence that animal-human embryos could be of any therapeutic use. Cures for diseases should not be sought "at the cost of de-personalising the unborn and treating them as things to be manipulated and dissected." [Lancaster Guardian, 2 June, and SPUC director's blog, 26 May]

A retired Anglican bishop who was a member of the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has dismissed the idea that every human embryo has a soul, speaking instead of "primitive embryonic material". Rt Rev Lord Harries of Pentregarth called opposition to human-animal hybrids absurd and pointed out that they would only live for 14 days. Such experiments were "for an over-ridingly good purpose" such as curing serious illness. [Daily Mail, 4 June]

A body entrusted with impartially explaining the European Union's Lisbon treaty has said that it does not threaten Ireland's abortion-law. Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill, president of the Referendum Commission, said a protocol protecting the constitutional right to life was of the same legal status as an article of the treaty. [Irish Examiner, 5 June] When asked about the meaning of the removal of Ireland's veto over what the treaty calls "arrangements for the control of implementing powers" Mr O'Neill demurred. [Irish Examiner, 5 June] Patrick Buckley of European Life Network, Dublin, said: "This is an ominous development when the person who is responsible for providing impartial information is either unable or unwilling to answer it. It does not augur well for the future that there are aspects of the treaty which are undefined. Despite his denial on the abortion issue this hesitation raises major questions." The popular vote on the treaty will be next week.

A member of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation has reportedly compared pro-life advocates to Saudi extremists. Mr Blair subsequently played down the remark by Dr Richard Levin, president of Yale University, Connecticut. [Washington Post, 4 June] SPUC's John Smeaton has written about this incident and about Mr Blair's support for abortion. [SPUC director's blog, 4 June]

Old people are reportedly going to Mexico to buy pentobarbital to use for suicide. It is said that suicide-supporters publicise the whereabouts of veterinary pharmacies and pet-shops which sell Nembutal for putting down domestic animals. [Reuters, 4 June]

A British couple who are expecting naturally-conceived quads have refused so-called selective abortion. Mr Michael Wing, the father, is quoted as saying that such intervention could lead to the deaths of all the children. Mrs Emma Wing, of Devon, says she wants nature take its course. [BBC, 3 June] Selective abortion is intended to increase the survival chances of the babies who are not killed.

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