Pro-Life News: Pakistan Abortion, Embryo Screening, Ireland, Arkansas

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 5, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life News: Pakistan Abortion, Embryo Screening, Ireland, Arkansas Email this article
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by Maria Vitale Gallagher Staff Writer
March 5, 2006

Pakistani Nurse Raped for Refusing to Carry Out Abortions
Punjab, Pakistan ( —
A nurse who refused to perform illegal abortions in Pakistan has become the victim of an alleged gang rape. Authorities say 26-year-old Rubina Kousar was attacked by three men who burst into her lodgings at a rural health center in the western Punjab last Wednesday. Three men have been arrested in connection with the crime, but they deny that they were the ones responsible. Kousar told the press, “I was constantly put under pressure over the course of six months to carry out illegal abortions on two women but I refused. And so revenge was taken.” Kousar added, “They have threatened my family with dire consequences if we do not settle this. But this is not the past when we can get pushed around. God will give me the courage to fight them.” In Pakistan, abortion is illegal except when the life of the mother is at risk. The attack on Kousar has sparked a firestorm of controversy over the treatment of rape victims in Pakistan.

Australian Couples Travel to U.S. for Embryo Gender Screening
Canberra, Australia ( —
Wealthy Australians who are actually fertile are traveling to the U.S. for in vitro fertilization treatment in order to select the gender of their babies. Published reports say they’re spending as much as $25,000 for a controversial embryo gender screening procedure that’s been banned in Australia. News Limited newspapers say a California fertility center has performed the high-tech process on about 14 couples from Australia. The procedure is believed to be 99 percent accurate. During the IVF procedure, a cell is extracted from the embryos to determine the gender. By coming to the U.S., Australians can skirt the Australian laws banning sex selection.

Pro-Life Advocates Picket Amnesty International in Belfast
Belfast, Ireland ( —
Pro-life advocates have been picketing an Amnesty International meeting at Queen’s University in Belfast. The pro-life group known as Precious Life is calling on Amnesty International to actively campaign on behalf of the unborn child. The human rights organization is perhaps best known for its campaigns against capital punishment. Precious Life says that if Amnesty begins campaigning for abortion as a human right, it will be opposing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The organization is reportedly consulting its members to determine its future policy on abortion. Director Patrick Corrigan was quoted as saying that Amnesty cannot work on “sexual reproductive rights” without discussing the issue of abortion, and is now working to develop a policy position regarding the issue. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Precious Life, Bernie Smyth, was quoted as saying that abortion can never be described as a right. “Abortion is a needless act of violence that kills babies and hurts women,” Smyth said. Numerous studies indicate that women can suffer serious physical and emotional complications from abortion.

Arkansas Governor Supports South Dakota-like Abortion Ban
Little Rock, AR ( —
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he supports the kind of abortion ban passed by South Dakota lawmakers. The South Dakota bill would ban all abortions except in order to save the life of the mother. South Dakota legislators passed the bill in a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which legalized abortion. But pro-life groups nationwide disagree about whether the timing is right for the legal challenge, given the current composition of the high court. Huckabee says he always felt that Roe was “illegitimate.” The Arkansas Governor notes that the South Dakota law is similar to a part of the Arkansas Constitution that isn’t being enforced because of Roe. Huckabee suggested that he would accept legal exceptions for rape and incest, but he noted, “Accept is a better word than support.” Huckabee added that cases involving rape and incest account for only about one percent of the abortions that are performed. Huckabee, the chairman of the National Governors Association, is hosting the group’s winter meeting in Washington.

Charges Filed for Selling of Body Parts in New York, Philadelphia
New York, NY ( —
One district attorney called it “something out of a cheap horror movie.” He’s referring to a case in which the owner of a biomedical supply house and three others have been charged with selling human body parts for use in transplants. Investigators say the defendants earned millions of dollars forging death certificates and organ donor consent forms to make it look like the bones, skin, tendons, and heart valves they obtained from bodies from funeral homes had been obtained legally. The case marks the first set of charges to emerge from a scandal involving hundreds of bodies, including that of “Masterpiece Theatre” host Alistair Cooke, who died in 2004. Some of the body parts could conceivably spread disease to transplant patients. The bodies reportedly came from funeral homes in New York City, Rochester, Philadelphia, and New Jersey that contracted with the Brooklyn funeral parlor for embalming. The Food and Drug Administration recently closed Biomedical Tissue Services, noting that the company had failed to screen for contaminated tissue. The FDA said patients who received the company’s products could have been exposed to disease, although the risk might be minimal.