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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 6 December 2000

6 December 2000

6 December 2000 Figures issued by the Office for National Statistics in the UK have indicated that, while teenagers living in deprived areas are more likely to become pregnant than those in more affluent regions, they are also far less likely to have abortions. The study, published in Population Trends, found that, in areas where pregnancy rates for under-18s were high, teenagers were more likely to continue with their pregnancy rather than have an abortion. However, in more prosperous areas where teenage pregnancies were less common, up to two thirds of pregnant teenagers had abortions. The exception to this trend was London, which had both a high teenage pregnancy rate and a high teenage abortion rate. [The Guardian, 6 December ; BBC News online, 5 December ] Commenting on the timing of the study's release, Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: "This study of teenage abortion by socio-economic status is poorly conducted - looking only at which region the teenagers are living in. It seems to form part of the government's push to justify the recent appointment of 141 teenage pregnancy monitors, charged with ensuring that pregnant girls are 'informed' about abortion services." An Israeli parliamentary committee has been told that 11,619 requests for abortions were lodged with hospital committees in Israel during the first seven months of 2000, and that 11,403 of these were approved. Dr Yoram Lotan, a health ministry official, also estimated that a similar number of abortions had been performed without the approval of hospital committees. The statistics were revealed during a debate in the Knesset's committee for the advancement of women on the activities of pro-life activists. [Ha'aretz News, 6 December ] The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands has expressed his continuing hope that the legalisation of euthanasia might be averted. Cardinal Adrian Simonis, archbishop of Utrecht, said: "I still hope that the Senate [the upper house of parliament] will not approve this euthanasia law. The European Council has pointed out to the Netherlands that the euthanasia law conflicts with human rights." In an interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, Cardinal Simonis went on to speak about "the modern sickness of man who no longer adheres to truth but to the subjectivity of his feelings". He also pointed out the link between euthanasia and abortion: "The door was already open by abortion, which was barely approved by only one vote. At that time, we [had] already warned, 'You will end up authorising euthanasia, you are on a downward slope.' They didn't listen to us." [Zenit news agency, 3 December] The RU-486 abortion drug will soon be available in Taiwan. The bureau of health has specified a number of contraindications to its use, including women who are over 35 years of age, or who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, or who have experienced abnormal pregnancies. In a survey of women conducted by Taiwan's Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 84 percent said that availability of RU-486 would lead to greater promiscuity. [Taipei Times, 5 December ] A campaigner for physician-assisted suicide in Canada has publicly admitted to being present at assisted suicides. Rhonda Clarke, a member of the Right to Die Society in Toronto, made her admission in a newspaper article following the decision by the Dutch lower house of parliament to legalise euthanasia. In the same article Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Ontario, wrote: "The Netherlands has one of the weakest palliative care systems anywhere. The answer isn't to end lives but to provide the best possible palliative care so those in chronic pain don't see death as their only option." [LifeSite News, 5 December] The American Medical Association (AMA) officially recommended that the morning-after pill should be made available over-the-counter without a doctor's prescription yesterday. The AMA's House of Delegates approved the resolution without debate during its convention in Orlando, Florida. Cathy Cleaver, spokesman for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, condemned the AMA's recommendation and accused them of misleading women by blurring the line between contraception and abortion. She said: "They call it a contraceptive. But what it really does is [prevent] the fertilised embryo from implanting itself on the uterine wall." [ ,

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