Amnesty International will officially launch its new pro-abortion stance on 11 August in Mexico City. Ms Kate Gilmore, deputy secretary-general, has said: "The Catholic Church, through a misrepresented account of our position on selective aspects of abortion, is placing in peril work on human rights." She went on to say that Amnesty would take action in Nigeria and Latin America which have restrictive abortion laws. She said "We're here to do what's right, whether it's unpopular or otherwise." [EWTN 30 July]
The Pope has said that concern for the environment is important but that concern for human life takes priority. Speaking at a question and answer session with Italian clergy, Benedict XVI said: "Our own planet speaks with us and we should be listening if we want to survive and decipher this message about the earth. And if we should be obedient to the voice of the earth, much more we must be obedient to the voice of human life. We not only take care of the earth, but we must respect...other human beings." [LifeSite, 26 July]
The British public health minister has announced that there will be new measures to improve the availability and quality of IVF treatment on the National Health Service. Ms Dawn Primarolo MP outlined measures to standardise eligibility criteria, to produce better guidance for primary care trusts and to monitor IVF provision more closely so as to identify where services needed to be improved. She said: "We recognise that there are local variations in the provision of IVF and that this does cause distress to many childless couples who feel that they are not getting the treatment they need." [Department of Health, 24 July] IVF involves great waste of human life. Statistics from Australia have suggested that only one IVF embryo in 25 will see the light of day as a born child.
The first private abortion clinic has been opened in Portugal following the change in the law earlier this month to allow social abortion up to 10 weeks' gestation. Previously abortion had been allowed only for disability and other restricted reasons. Many Portuguese doctors are refusing to perform abortions and several public hospitals have said they will not be able to offer abortion, despite the legal obligation to do so, because they lacked doctors willing to do them. [Los Angeles Times 31 July]
Children born by IVF should be monitored into adulthood, according to British and German researchers. The study, published in The Lancet, warned that not enough is known about the long term consequences of in-vitro fertilisation and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Dr Alastair Sutcliffe of the Institute of Child Health at University College London said: "Long term follow up of children born after ART [assisted reproduction techniques] to reproductive age and beyond is necessary. Some of the risks to children born after ART do not arise as a result of the techniques but from the background biology of the sub-fertile couple. Many unknowns exist about the health of children conceived after ART as they grow, which remain to be fully addressed." [Life Style Extra, 27 July]
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