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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 22 June 2000

22 June 2000

22 June 2000 A new report in the UK has claimed that a quarter of all girls born in 1974 lost their virginity before the age of 16, compared with only one percent born in the 1930s and five percent born in the 1950s. Bev Botting and Karen Dunnell, two contributors to the report published by the Office for National Statistics, concluded: "These data show that an increasing proportion of all teenage girls are sexually active and therefore at risk of pregnancy ... as the estimated age of first intercourse decreases there is a continued need for sufficient, accessible and appropriate family planning services." The current teenage pregnancy rate in England and Wales is about 100,000 per year, resulting in only about 48,000 babies being born. [Daily Telegraph, 21 June] A survey of 1,200 doctors in 122 neonatal intensive care units throughout Europe has found that nearly half of those in the Netherlands and three quarters of those in France had frequently administered drugs to end the lives of newborn babies with incurable diseases. A majority of doctors in other countries, including the UK, Italy, Spain, Germany and Sweden, had not done this, although doctors in all countries had been involved in limiting treatment or withholding emergency procedures from babies with incurable conditions. The investigation, published in The Lancet, suggested that such differences within Europe were due to cultural and legal factors rather than the religious beliefs or ages of doctors. [Reuters, covered on Yahoo! News, 21 June] The US Senate has narrowly rejected an amendment which would have lifted a ban on overseas military personnel obtaining abortions in military hospitals funded by the American taxpayer. The amendment to a defence spending bill was lost only by 50 votes to 49, with one senator being absent. The House of Representatives defeated a similar amendment last month. [Pro-Life Infonet, 21 June] The city council in Turin, Italy, has voted by 13 to 12 in favour of euthanasia. There were seven abstentions and many council members were also absent for the vote. Archbishop Severino Poletto of Turin described the vote as "a serious matter and a worrying sign" and added that it was not within a city council's competence to address such matters. Turin's council is the first in Italy to discuss euthanasia, and its mayor voted against. [Zenit news agency, Turin, 21 June] The complete text of the debate on abortion in the Northern Ireland legislative assembly last Tuesday (20 June) can be found at the following address, below the debate on postal services in rural areas.

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