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Defending life
from conception to natural death


House of Commons to debate Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

10 October 2008

The UK parliament is due to debate the government's embryology proposals on Wednesday-week. The House of Commons report stage and third reading of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is scheduled for the 22nd. [Leader of the House of Commons, 9 October] Mr Nigel Dodds, Democratic Unionist MP for Belfast North, said that it was inappropriate that the bill should be used to extend abortion to Northern Ireland, given widespread opposition in the province. [Christian Institute, 9 October] Mr Pat Ramsey, Social Democratic and Labour member of the legislative assembly, said such a move could destroy that assembly. [LifeSiteNews, 9 October] SPUC is mobilising its supporters to defeat the bill. Actions requested include contacting MPs and the prime minister, and leafleting. [SPUC, 9 October] A group defending deaf people's interests has criticised the bill. Stop Eugenics points out that clause 14 forbids couples from choosing ill or disabled IVF embryos in preference to those who are not. [Guardian, 10 October]

An opinion survey suggests many American voters consider Senator Barack Obama, Democrat presidential candidate, to be religious, despite his support for abortion. Public Religion Research found that there were more people who thought Mr Obama was sympathetic to religion than people who thought the same about Senator John McCain, his Republican opponent. [LifeNews, 8 October] Tuesday's televised debate between the candidates avoided life issues. The National Black Pro-Life Union suggested that the media were trying to hide Senator Obama's support for abortion. [LifeNews, 8 October] Mr Obama could approve a law which would undermine pro-life pregnancy-services. Measures introduced in both legislative chambers are based on assertions that such institutions mislead pregnant women. Our source suggests that the new congress will be more pro-abortion. [LifeNews, 9 October] A supporter of Mr Obama has resigned from the board of a Catholic university. Dr Nicholas Cafardi has left the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. [CNA on EWTN, 8 October]

A bill which makes abortion easier to obtain has been initially passed by both houses of the parliament of Victoria, Australia. The measure is still subject to amendment and another round of voting. The lower house has also approved a bill liberalising fertility treatment. [Australian, 10 October] Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, New South Wales, warned that the proposed abortion law could set a precedent for other states. [Australian, 10 October] A group of doctors has expressed concern that the bill could require medics to perform abortion. [Catholic News Agency, 9 October]

A Canadian prelate has suggested that life-issues should be voters' priority. Archbishop Terrence Prendergast SJ of Ottawa pointed out how the Catholic bishops' election guide described the right to life as foundational and "grounding all others". There may have been a conspiracy of silence over abortion during campaigning for the election to be held on Tuesday (the 14th). [LifeSiteNews, 8 October] Dr Henry Morgentaler, an abortion advocate, is due to receive the Order of Canada in Quebec City today. [LifeSiteNews, 8 October]

Annual IVF births in Britain exceeded 10,000 for the first time in 2006, resulting in some 12,600 babies. Nearly 35,000 women were treated in UK clinics, an annual rise of some seven percent. The regulatory body expressed concern at a 28% drop in donor insemination, probably caused by the removal of anonymity. [Daily Mail, 9 October] An Irish sportswoman is to have her eggs frozen so she can compete in the 2012 Olympics. Ms Helen Barnes, a 36-year-old canoeist who is single, will have the procedure in England and says she might still have children before the games. [Evening Post, 9 October]

An advocate of assisted suicide will launch an online book on the subject in London, England, on Monday. Dr Philip Nitschke of Australia will also hold meetings at which he may discuss suffocation and poisoning. [PA on Channel 4, 8 October] The Care Not Killing group regrets the visit. [Sky, 9 October]

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