US blocks funding for Marie Stopes International
6 October 2008
The United States has blocked funding for Marie Stopes International (MSI) because it reportedly supports forced abortion and sterilisation in China. The Population Research Institute says that MSI, which denies the allegations, will have to cut its population control programmes in several African countries. [Catholic News Agency, 4 October] The policy against support for such coercive practices overseas was enacted in 1985 and was first used by President Reagan.
The Pope has praised the work of those who help couples overcome infertility in an ethical way. In a recent message to a conference to mark 40 years since Pope Paul VI's encyclical on birth regulation, Benedict XVI writes: "While fully safeguarding the dignity of human procreation, some have achieved results which previously seemed unattainable. Scientists therefore are to be encouraged to continue their research with the aim of preventing the causes of sterility and of being able to remedy them so that sterile couples will be able to procreate in full respect for their own personal dignity and that of the child to be born". Neither technology nor reason was adequate for comprehending the truth of humanity. [Holy See, 3 October]
Catholic bishops in New York state say that the human right to life is paramount. In a document published in the run-up to elections, they write: "To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholics should consider them less acceptable for public office." The bishops urge their people to inform their consciences on church teaching and to use their vote. [Catholic News Agency, 2 October]
The American Nurses Association (ANA) supports Senator Barack Obama, Democrat, for president, and has launched a website to further that cause. Ms Mary-Kate Heffern, an ANA member and a director of the National Association of Prolife Nurses, said that the ANA had: "eliminated the unborn as legitimately entitled to this standard of care, beginning with the most basic, life itself". The ANA was failing to address conscientious objection to abortion and end-of-life issues. [LifeNews, 3 October] Mr Obama says his first action as president would be to sign an act which would completely liberalise abortion.
Pregnant women should be inoculated against influenza, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Expectant mothers have above-average vulnerability to the disease and the vaccine offers some protection to the unborn. The college reassured women that mercury found in some versions of the drug was not a threat. [mediLexicon, 5 October]