Rights Laws Can Halt Abortions, Cardinal Says

Westminster Archbishop Makes Appeal to Lawyers

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WESTMINSTER, England, APR. 9, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The primate of Catholic Church in England and Wales has made a direct appeal to the legal profession to use new European legislation to prevent abortions, the Independent newspaper reported.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O´Connor, archbishop of Westminster, urged lawyers to bring «right-of-life» cases under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Writing in the official lawyers´ magazine, Counsel, he said there had been a «grave erosion of the right to life through laws on abortion and embryo research.» He said the Human Rights Act meant that the government and the courts will have to reconsider these laws.

The European Charter, he said, now provided the opportunity for protecting human embryos, and medical advances demonstrated the injustice of «denying the unborn child the right to life from conception.»

Last month, the cardinal provoked a storm of protest from activists when he called on voters to consider withholding support from pro-abortion candidates in the general election.

Last month, a man cited the Human Rights Act in an attempt to stop his former girlfriend having an abortion. Although the woman aborted her child, the case raised questions about the role of prospective fathers in decisions to carry out abortions.

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