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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Experts give activists ammunition for the pro life fight

18 September 2000

Experts give activists ammunition for the pro-life fight Westminster, 18 September, 2000--Leading experts on bioethical issues briefed pro-life activists from all parts of the United Kingdom at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children's national conference last weekend (15 to 17 September). Topics ranged from abortion to embryo research, euthanasia and human cloning. Dr Anthony Fisher, OP, president of SPUC, argued that the human embryo should be recognised as a member of the human family, and that using embryos in experiments or destroying the unborn by abortion undermine the mutual care and solidarity that hold society together. Human cloning represents one of the fastest growing threats to the dignity of human life. Dr Anthony Cole, a consultant paediatrician and chairman of the Medical Ethics Alliance, pointed to the huge advances in treatment for Down's syndrome children in the past 50 years. By contrast, babies in the womb are being killed by abortion if they are disabled. Dr Cole works to continue to improve the lot of Down's children, and he described the proposals of the Medical Ethics Alliance to help mothers who do not want abortion to avoid tests leading to it. Mr Peter Garrett of LIFE alerted delegates to the imminent threat of new regulations which would permit the creation of cloned embryos. This would pave the way for the production of cloned babies, initially for medical reasons but eventually for economic motives. He cited respected philosophers who envisage clone farms on one hand and, on the other, the killing of cloned babies soon after birth to take their organs for transplantation. Delegates learned about the expanding work of British Victims of Abortion in post-abortion counselling from Mrs Margaret Cuthill, the group's organiser. Mrs Cuthill has herself had two abortions. She spoke of the traumatic effects of abortion, including those by RU486, the supposedly easy chemical method, on mothers and other family members. Conference delegates learned how SPUC works to bring together pro-life supporters from around the world at United Nations meetings. This is vital to counteract efforts by radical feminists, supported by the EU, the US and other western countries, to force poorer countries to adopt pro-abortion policies. The threat of the morning-after pill, which can cause an early abortion, and which the government wants to make more widely available, including to underage girls in schools, was one of the key campaign issues of the conference. Delegates were urged to follow up SPUC's campaign among pharmacists by writing to MPs pointing out the dangers and drawbacks of this medication. Parliament is likely to vote on whether the drug should be more easily available in the coming months.

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