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Defending life from the moment of conception

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SPUC says Ireland should reject Nice treaty

7 October 2002

SPUC says Ireland should reject Nice treaty London, 7 October 2002--The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is urging Irish Catholics to vote against the Nice treaty because it fears that, if the treaty is ratified, Ireland will be persuaded to allow human embryo research. In a message to the clergy and religious of Ireland, John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, writes: "The number of unborn lives lost as a result of IVF treatment is truly dreadful, but this holocaust is perhaps all the more shocking because so few people are aware of it. These human embryos who are created and discarded in the course of IVF treatment are surely the most forgotten and disregarded members of our human family. "Unfortunately, despite the constitutional protection of unborn life from conception in the Irish Republic, IVF treatment is practised in your country and official statistics released by the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin and Human Assisted Reproduction Ireland (HARI) confirm that hundreds of lives are being lost as a result. "Together with many others, I fear that Ireland will come under increasing pressure to allow destructive research on left-over IVF embryos if the Nice treaty is passed in the referendum on 19 October. The treaty would further confirm the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights as the first pillar of a future European constitution which will be binding on all EU member states. Pro-life countries such as Ireland and Poland should be very concerned that the charter will be interpreted and enforced in such a way that their constitutional protection of unborn life will be eroded or even set aside completely. The charter's view of the human person is clearly at odds with the pro-life position and Catholic teaching, as is evidenced by its prohibition on cloning for reproductive purposes only and not for experimental or research purposes. "Pope John Paul II said in December 2000 that he was disappointed by the draft text of the charter and clearly feared that its understanding of the rights of the person would provide insufficient defence against abortion and experimentation on the human embryo. "For this reason I respectfully urge you to vote against the Nice treaty, and ensure that Ireland's courageous stance in defence of the unborn is maintained. This really is a matter of life and death."

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