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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 14 August 2000

14 August 2000

14 August 2000 The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is denying that it has acknowledged a link between breast cancer and abortion. Yesterday's Mail on Sunday claimed that the college was alerting women to the danger through its website and would produce leaflets containing a similar message. The paper also claimed that the British Pregnancy Advisory Service would be warning the women with whom it dealt. The RCOG is now considering taking the matter to the Press Complaints Commission. Research at City University, New York, based on 28 surveys of hundreds of thousands of women suggested that abortion increased the breast cancer risk by 30%. Professor James Drife, vice-president of the RCOG, has been quoted as saying: "This study cannot be rubbished or regarded as sub-standard." The link between breast cancer and abortion was first made in 1957, though no such link has been identified between miscarriage and abortion. Many doctors agree that hormones produced during pregnancy have a protective effect, while induced abortion causes a sudden hormonal change which can affect breast cells. [The Times, Sun, Metro and Guardian, 14 August; The Mail, 13 August] The British government is expected to announce on Wednesday that it wants to allow human cloning for medical research. It is reported that Labour Members of Parliament will not be required to follow a party line on the matter. Anti-cloning observers expect that the announcement will be presented as though cloning was being comprehensively banned, with minor exceptions. Mrs Ann Winterton, the pro-life MP, has called on her colleagues to consider the long-term implications of human cloning. Scientists want to take stem cells from cloned embryos aged up to 14 days, after which the embryos would be killed. The US National Institutes of Health is expected soon to authorise funding for research involving the destruction of human embryos. [Daily Telegraph and BBC website, 14 August, Independent and LA Times, 13 August] A man has been jailed for seven years for causing his unborn son to die after he had crashed the car in which the child and his mother were travelling. Mr Daniel Pinchess was convicted at Leicester crown court of causing death by dangerous driving. [Daily Mail, 14 August] Laws against homicide do not protect the child in the womb unless the child is born alive and subsequently dies from injuries sustained. This appears to be the principle applied here. Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, has told Democrats at a Mass prior to their party's convention that human life in America was threatened by legalised abortion and calls for physician-assisted suicide. The American Life League has criticised the cardinal for being associated with the convention. A Kentucky delegate will stay away from the convention rather than support Mr Al Gore, because of the latter's support for abortion. Rep. Ken Lucas says Mr Gore is a good man but that they disagree philosophically. [Pro-Life Infonet and Life Advocacy Briefing, 14 August]

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