Australian foreign minister may allow funding for overseas abortions
29 January 2009
The Australian foreign minister is considering lifting a ban on funding for overseas abortion, which he can do without legislation, and which the present government inherited from Mr John Howard's administration. [WA Today, 25 January] An informed source has told SPUC: "If the [present] Rudd government does overturn the Howard government's position, it would appear to undermine the prime minister's publicly proclaimed enthusiasm for bringing Christian faith back into the public square. If it happened, it would expose the prime minister to the charge that he does not practise what he preaches. Some might even conclude that his very public Christian commitment was little more than a political marketing exercise. Let's hope, therefore, that these reports turn out to be inaccurate.''
America could supply the United Nations population fund with 10% of its funding or more. Ms Thoraya Obaid, the fund's executive director, says the US could give it as much as $60 million a year. President Bush reportedly deprived the fund of more than $240 million. [Reuters, 27 January]
Members of the US House of Representatives led by Mr Chris Smith have proposed a law to restore the ban on funding for abortion overseas. [LifeSiteNews, 28 January] Latin American pro-life leaders have reacted with deep concern to the US's resumption of abortion funding. [John Smeaton, 29 January]
A hospital in Malta reportedly has an unused IVF laboratory. Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, can allegedly also freeze sperm. State funding for IVF, which is currently available privately, may need legislation. The country lacks regulation of artificial reproduction. [Times of Malta, 28 January] John Smeaton of SPUC says: "IVF represents an attack on early human life and goes against Malta's pro-life constitution. A pro-life parliament cannot protect the unborn from the violence of abortion on the one hand and permit the creation, manipulation and destruction of embryos on the other."
A man in Florida who shot his wife in the head has been sentenced to two years of house arrest and 13 years' probation after lawyers argued that he killed her to end her suffering. Mrs Peggy Benjo had cancer and Alzheimer's, and Mr Robert Benjo, 82, pleaded guilty to her manslaughter. [AP on WKRG, 24 January]
A guide to suicide was found close to the corpse of man in Iowa who may have killed himself. Printed and DVD versions of Final Exit by Derek Humphry were near to the remains of Mr Derek Mott, 56, when his wife found him. [UPI, 24 January] Dr Philip Nitschke will reportedly return to the UK this year to promote suicide and the trips he organises to buy poisonous pentobarbital barbiturates in Mexico. [Sunday Express, 25 January]
A blind boy is due to be treated in China for his optic nerve hypoplasia using umbilical cord stem cells. The family of Joshua Clark, 16 months, of Gwynedd, Wales, plan to take him to Shanghai. [BBC, 29 January]
Chemicals in carpets, clothing, cosmetics, food packaging, pesticides and upholstery could harm female fertility. The University of California in Los Angeles found that two types of perfluorinated chemical in women's blood inhibited conception and caused irregular menstruation. The substances could also harm men's sperm. [Daily Mail, 29 January]