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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 19 May 2000

19 May 2000

19 May 2000 The English Court of Appeal has ruled that a mentally handicapped woman should be fitted with an intra-uterine device. The mother of the 29 year-old woman had originally secured a court ruling that her handicapped daughter, described as very attractive, should be given a hysterectomy to prevent her becoming pregnant. However, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, president of the High Court family division, said yesterday that "the patient has the right, if she cannot herself choose, not to have drastic surgery imposed upon her unless or until it has been demonstrated that it is in her best interests". Instead, the woman will be fitted with an IUD. [The Times&Daily Telegraph, 19 May] Abortion has been identified as a significant factor in Russia's declining population figures. The Russian State Statistics Committee reported last month that every day the country's population shrinks by 2,500 people, and Dr Murray Feshback, an expert on Russia at Georgetown University, USA, has predicted that the population will have dropped from 147 million to 116 million by 2050. Disease and emigration are among the factors cited, but so is the fact that 70 percent of all pregnancies in Russia since 1994 have ended in abortion. Partly on account of the lasting health effects abortion can have on a woman's body, one in five Russian couples are now infertile. [ABCNEWS.com, 18 May] A campaign at the United Nations to uphold the Holy See's status as a permanent observer is now supported by over 2000 groups from 50 countries. The campaign began in early January in reaction to calls by pro-abortionists to eject the Holy See, and was announced publicly at a UN press conference on 15 March. The campaign includes prominent Evangelical groups as well as Islamic groups such as the al-Khoei foundation. Catholics for a Free Choice, the organisation which has led calls for the Holy See's ejection, is supported by 498 groups and has run advertisements on the front page of the New York Times to promote its offensive. [Catholic Family&Human Rights Institute, 19 May] Texas Governor George W. Bush, Republican candidate for the American presidential elections in November, has reiterated his opposition to physician-assisted suicide. He said that if elected president he would support a bill currently heading towards the Senate which would overturn the Oregon state law allowing doctors to write lethal prescriptions for federally controlled drugs. He also indicated that, if the bill failed in Congress, his administration would be "more than likely" to overturn the present interpretation and rule that federal law already prohibits the use of barbiturates to end a terminally ill patient's life. [The Oregonian, 17 May] Israeli police have arrested two gynaecologists who stand accused of routinely removing extra eggs from the ovaries of women undergoing fertility treatment for use by other women. [The Guardian, 19 May]

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