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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 8 February 2000

8 February 2000

8 February 2000 The composition of the House of Commons committee to scrutinise the Medical Treatment (Prevention of Euthanasia) Bill has been announced, and most of the MPs on it are thought to be in favour of the proposed legislation. It does, however, include Ms Yvette Cooper, the public health minister, who spoke against the Bill during its second reading on the 28th of last month. The committee's first meeting will be tomorrow at 16:30. [based on House of Commons website] A British health minister has told parliament that the government has no plans to legislate on advance statements (so-called living wills) "at the present time". Lord Hunt of Kings Heath was quoting from Making Decisions, the lord chancellor's policy-statement on mentally incapacitated adults, as part of a reply to Baroness Miller of Hendon. [House of Lords website, 3 February 2000] A man has accused his girlfriend of stealing his frozen sperm from the Harley Street fertility centre, London, and using it to conceive a baby. Mr Michael von Schonburg is claiming damages for breach of contract and duty, distress, indignation and anxiety, as well as seeking indemnity against a claim of paternity. The centre is fighting the claim, saying that Mr von Schonburg signed a consent-form. [The Mirror, 8 February, 2000] A news-digest recipient with family-experience of thalassaemia (see Friday's news-digest) writes that the illness has a major and a minor type. "Only the major type is possibly life-threatening. The minor type has very little effect on health, especially if treated with folic acid. The facts are much less frightening than the rumour. Too many health professionals give too little information on the reality of the condition and what can be done to alleviate its bad effects. Mothers are left to imagine and fear the worst." Rev Bernard O'Connor of Dundee, Scotland, writes in today's Independent: "I challenge the assumption that abortion is the easiest and best option for a 12-year-old girl. Abortion undoubtedly erases the 'problem' from our sight, but does nothing about the real issue here: that a 12-year-old girl becomes pregnant by a 15-year-old boy, and the attitudes in society that condone, even encourage, such a situation." A 12-year-old girl is said to have given birth in south-west England recently. She is said to have been supported by Cardinal Winning's organisation. Surrogacy will be the subject of a BBC1 television-programme to be broadcast at 21:30 tomorrow. This bulletin is privately circulated by The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children,, 5/6 St Matthew Street, London, United Kingdom, SW1P 2JT, +44 20 7222 3763. The reliability of the news herein is dependent on the cited sources. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the society. Please forward this bulletin to other interested parties. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an appropriate email to

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