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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Maternal mortality resolution passed by UN Human Rights Council

19 June 2009

A resolution on maternal mortality has been passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Communication between national delegations and the pro-life/pro-family coalition lobbying at the council's meeting this week in Geneva, Switzerland resulted in the removal of pro-abortion language from the resolution. John Smeaton, SPUC director, congratulated the coalition on its work. [SPUC director's blog, 17 June] The heads of many of the world's leading countries and major international agencies have outlined an agenda on maternal health. The 2009 Report of the Global Campaign for the Health Millennium Development Goals calls for "comprehensive family planning" and "[s]afe abortion services (where abortion is legal)". The report also claims that its agenda will result, among other things, in "[a] fall of almost two thirds in the global number of unwanted births and of half the number of unsafe abortions", and "[a] rise of one third in the number of contraceptive users." Contributors to the report include Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, the Chinese health minister and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). [Australian Government Overseas Aid Program, June 2009].

A letter published by the London Times has highlighted the incidence of involuntary euthanasia in the Netherlands. Dr William Reichels of the Centre for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown university, wrote: "Although the law [in the Netherlands] calls for performing assisted suicide and euthanasia with the patient's consent, it is often involuntary. The law also calls for obtaining a second opinion of another physician, but this is often never done." [Times, 16 June]

Several American pro-life leaders have received death threats following the murder of George Tiller, the abortionist. Fr Frank Pavone of Priest for Life, Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Jill Stanek, a prominent blogger have all been targeted by the threats. Jill Stanek is under police and federal protection, while Fr Pavone says he requires armed escorts during speaking engagements. [, 17 June]

A court in Brazil has upheld a decision preventing a pro-life group from describing a pro-abortion activist as an "abortionist". Pro-Vida Anapolis, a Brazilian pro-life organization, had described Debora Diniz Rodrigues as an "abortionist anthropologist" in a caption to a photograph on its website. The court ruled that the description "gravely offends her personal honor and dignity." [, 17 June]

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