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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 23 June 2000

23 June 2000

23 June 2000 A British survey has found that four in 10 girls have taken the morning-after pill by the age of 19. Dr Roger Ingham, director of the centre for sexual health research at Southampton University, England, conducted his research among more than 1,000 youngsters aged between 14 and 19 for Channel 4, a national television station. The survey also indicated that the most common age for first sex was 15, and that seven out of 10 teenagers had not discussed contraception with their first sexual partner. [The Independent, 23 June] The Italian Senate has voted to re-introduce the rights of the unborn, after cancelling them in a previous vote. The amendment to a bill dealing with artificial insemination was the result of a direct intervention by Nicola Mancino, the Senate's president. A ruling by the Italian constitutional court in 1997 recognised the rights of the unborn, but this had been passed over by the bill's authors. In any case the bill might not have time to be approved before elections due next year. [Zenit news agency, Rome, 22 June] A new report has claimed that women over 35 are considerably more prone to miscarriages, and that by the age of 42, half of all unborn babies conceived are lost. The study, undertaken by the Danish Epidemiology Science Centre in Copenhagen and published in the British Medical Journal, indicated that a fifth of all pregnancies at the age of 35 result in miscarriage, still-birth or ectopic pregnancy. Furthermore, the risk of miscarriage at the age of 22 is only 9 percent, but has risen to 75 percent by the age of 45 and to 84 percent by the age of 48. [The Times, 23 June] Marie Stopes International, the provider of 35,000 abortions in Great Britain every year, has issued a statement in defence of its record following reports in the press of complications at a clinic operated by the charity. The statement rejected "any attempt to imply or infer that MSI's complication rates are greater than any other organisation providing similar services." The statement acknowledged that about five uterine perforations, or ruptured wombs, occur each year in its clinics, and added that ectopic pregnancies are "notoriously difficult to detect". [This is London website, Associated Newspapers, 14 June] The Catholic bishop of London, Ontario, has apologised for disparaging comments he recently made about pro-life campaigners [see news digest for 8 June]. Bishop John Michael Sherlock wrote: "I deeply regret that anything I have said should be interpreted as hostile to those who stand courageously in defense of the unborn, the developmentally disabled, and the aged." In the same statement the bishop also re-affirmed his support for the March for Women, participants in which included pro-abortion campaigners. He justified his position partly by claiming that poverty and violence "kills and disables more children than abortion does" but added that the presence of the Catholic Church "should be a public sign that true concern for women's dignity, equality and human rights rejects the inclusion of abortion and other so-called rights." [LifeSite Daily News, 21 June&Bishop Sherlock's statement, London diocesan website, 19 June] A study carried out in the United States has suggested that teenage boys are increasingly turning against abortion. 50.5 percent disagreed "a lot" with abortion "for any reason" in 1995, compared to 40.4 percent in 1988. Two researchers writing in Family Planning Perspectives analysed data from the 1988 and 1995 National Survey of Adolescent Males and concluded: "The large decrease in approval of abortion among white teenage males has closed the racial and ethnic gap in attitudes toward abortion that was evident in 1988 ... This trend toward more conservative abortion-related attitudes among whites coincides with increasingly conservative attitudes regarding premarital sex and greater religiosity among white male adolescents." [Pro-Life E-News, 22 June&Family Planning Perspectives, Vol.32, No.3, May/June 2000] The full report can be seen at

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