Hi-tech baby ban

While many countries grapple with advancements in reproductive technology, the French National Assembly continues to be one of the few who have actually attempted to legislate the practice.  In mid-April, the Assembly passed a bill which would set limits on who can apply for in-vitro fertilization and attempt to stem the until-now unregulated embryo experimentation.  Most of the controversy arose over a provision which would block women who are beyond child-bearing age from receiving artificial fertilization.  Other facets of the bill include the donation and use of organs, the role of doctors in bringing about pregnancies and the increased respect for the human body.  However, the legislation stopped short of an all-out ban on embryo experimentation, which alarms many French pro-lifers.  The Gaullist Rally for the Republic, the Union of French Democracy and the Socialist Party all voted in favour of the bill.  Members of the Communist Party abstained.  The legislation must pass the Senate before it becomes law.

Population rift

Raymond Flynn, the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, says Rome and the U.S. “seem to be on a crash course” over the final draft document for an international meeting on population policies.  Flynn told the Catholic News Service of the Vatican’s “complete rejection” of many of the document’s provisions.  After meeting with the secretary-general of the UN-run International Conference on Population and Development, Pope John Paul II spoke on the document, “There is a tendency to promote an internationally recognized right to access to abortion on demand, without any restriction, with no regard to the rights of the unborn.  The vision of sexuality which inspires the document is individualistic.  Marriage is ignored as if it were something of the past.”  The Pope further said that the UN document should focus on the well-being of the family and respect for the rights of husbands and wives rather than looking at the issue in terms of “sexual and reproductive rights” or “women’s rights.”  He also reinforced the Catholic Church’s opposition to any government efforts to limit family size and to promote the use of artificial sterilization.  Off the record, Canadian officials involved in drafting the document are completely opposed to Rome’s stand.  In the end, the Vatican was partially successful in getting abortion taken off the agenda.

Off the wire

British scientists have announced that within three years they will be able to create test-tube babies using ova from aborted female fetuses.  Pro-life observers note that there appear to be no obstacles in the law to prevent them from creating embryos for research purposes.  •••••  Clement Akpamgbo, Attorney General of Nigeria, has denied rumours that his government has plans to legalize abortion.  •••••  Eminent Persons in Population and Development, a population-control think-tank which reports to the United Nations, has called for an annual expenditure of $13 billion (U.S.) on world-wide population control.  Vatican Radio speculates that this figure will be bandied about at the Cairo Conference on Population and Development, this September.  •••••  The Planned Parenthood Federation of America 1992 summary shows that of its 217,386 clients, 132,314 had abortions, 77,768 were referred for abortions elsewhere and only 7,304 (3.3%) women were provided with pre-natal care.  •••••  The Rabbinical Alliance of America, representing 500 members across the U.S., has released an official statement supporting Operation Rescue and its ongoing efforts in New York.  Rabbi Abraham Hecht praised O,R. for its “unselfish and courageous devotion to upholding…the sanctity of human life.”  •••••  Christine Wilson, of Council bluffs, Iowa, is suing her former employer after being dismissed for wearing a pro-life button.  Mrs. Wilson refused to remove the button which depicted an unborn baby at 18 weeks with the slogan “They’re Forgetting Someone.”  The lawsuit is for $1 million.