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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 31 January 2000

31 January 2000

31 January 2000 The Irish prime minister has promised to hold a referendum on abortion by June 2002. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said that the plebiscite will take place during the remainder of his government's term of office. Dr Peter McKenna, master of the Rotunda maternity hospital, is reported as claiming that abortions are taking place in Irish hospitals because the high court has not resolved certain questions. [Joseph Power, The Universe, 30 January, 2000] Catholic sources have expressed "great joy" at the reported birth of a child to a 12-year-old girl whom it has been supporting. A spokesman for Cardinal Thomas Winning, archbishop of Glasgow, Scotland, said that, while no-one was happy when a child became pregnant, once the girl in question had become pregnant "we were dealing with two lives and not one." Cardinal Winning's fund has saved some 180 babies in three years and is presently helping some 40 pregnant women. The Abortion Law Reform Association said a girl of 12 was not ready physically or emotionally to give birth. The National Abortion Campaign is quoted as accusing the cardinal of exploiting the girl. [Daily Telegraph website and Daily Mail, 31 January, 2000] The leader of the British parliamentary opposition has praised the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). Mr William Hague said that he admired the work of SPUC, LIFE and CARE in helping people face up to the problems of unexpected pregnancies. He said that "many people" were trying to introduce euthanasia by the back door and welcomed Mrs Ann Winterton's Medical Treatment (Prevention of Euthanasia) Bill which passed its second reading on Friday. [The Universe, 30 January, 2000] A transcript of the debate on the Bill begins at htm#00128-01_head1 Media debate continues on whether drinking during pregnancy harms babies. Dr Thomas Stuttaford in The Times tries to calm fears while the Daily Telegraph quotes "key research" to the effect that eight units should be the weekly limit. [31 January, 2000] SPUC's How You Began booklet says: "Even moderate amounts of alcohol taken in early pregnancy may affect the child's growth and development (including that of the brain); heavy drinking carries a still higher risk." The booklet cites J W Hanson and others writing in Pediatrics in 1978. 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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