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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 March, 2005, 17:14 GMT
Cardinal demands lottery boycott
Cardinal Keith O'Brien
Cardinal Keith O'Brien is angry about lottery support for abortions
Calls have been made by the leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics for a boycott of the National Lottery.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien is angry that 3.3m is handed to Brook Advisory Centres and the FPA - formerly the Family Planning Association.

The organisations support women who are having abortions.

A total of 17 awards worth 1.7m have been made to Brook Advisory Centres and eight grants totalling 1.6m have gone to the FPA.

Cardinal O'Brien said: "I am quite staggered at the volume of funds provided to these agencies, which is in stark contrast to the lack of support for organisations offering alternative approaches.

We continue to fund on an enormous scale the very work which has so demonstrably failed
Cardinal Keith O'Brien

"As far as I am aware - across the UK - rates of teenage conceptions, sexually transmitted infections and abortions continue to rise."

He added: "In short, we are left facing the single incontrovertible fact that all our current approaches have failed.

"Yet we continue to fund on an enormous scale the very work which has so demonstrably failed."

The cardinal's criticism comes after Conservative leader Michael Howard backed a reduction in abortion time limits.

Mr Howard, in an interview to be published later, risks angering pro-choice groups by saying the current situation is "tantamount to abortion on demand".

The National Lottery has raised more than 16bn which has benefited 180,000 organisations over the past decade.

A spokeswoman for the Big Lottery Fund, which distributes the cash to good causes, said: "We are open to everyone who wants to apply for lottery funding and we respect the right of individuals to decide whether or not they purchase lottery tickets or apply for lottery grants.

"Information on grants is publicly available, which allows people to make a informed choice."

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