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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 25 May 2000

25 May 2000

25 May 2000 The Irish committee currently looking into the issue of abortion has been told that adoption should be strongly promoted as an alternative to abortion. Professor Patricia Casey, a psychiatrist, and Ms Breda O'Brien, a teacher and journalist, urged the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution that a concerted programme to promote adoption should be undertaken to reduce the Irish abortion rate [mainly women who travel to the UK for the procedure]. They said that the idea of adoption should be "de-stigmatised" and the negative images remaining from the 1950s and 1960s changed. [Irish Times, 24 May] An abortion clinic in London has been accused of running a substandard service and of threatening the well-being of its patients. Staff at the Park View Clinic in Ealing, west London, are reported to have voiced concerns that women are not being given adequate pain relief and are rushed through without proper consultation in a 'conveyor belt' fashion. The clinic is run by Marie Stopes International and provides abortions for hundreds of NHS and private patients each week. [Associated Newspapers, from 'This is London' website, 24 May] An article in The Times newspaper has used the birth of a baby boy to Cherie Blair and her husband, the British prime minister, to highlight the large number of women over 40 who have abortions. Dr Thomas Stuttaford, while acknowledging that abortion would not have been an option for the Blairs, observed that of 14,800 British women known to have conceived in 1997, 5,500 had an abortion. He wrote, "Unfortunately the myth has grown that women in their 40s are unlikely to become pregnant and hence there is an over-reliance on less sure methods." [The Times, 25 May] A British hospital doctor has presented a dossier to the General Medical Council on 20 cases of alleged negligence involving elderly people. Dr Rita Pal highlighted cases in 12 different hospitals where she has worked and said, "Elderly people are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to treatment in the NHS ... It is morally wrong to let a patient die because they are old and expendable." She claimed to have been sent hate mail by other doctors but insisted that she wouldn't be stopped from speaking out. [Daily Mirror, 25 May] A Dutch registered charity is giving women who would otherwise be unable to obtain abortions in their own countries due to legal restrictions the opportunity to have the procedure in a floating clinic outside national territorial waters. The Women on the Waves Foundation, founded by Dutch abortionist Rebecca Gomperts in 1999, provides a ship called the Sea Change which picks up women in countries where abortion is illegal or restricted and provides them with abortions 12 miles offshore. The Dutch parliament has been made aware of the project but has allowed the organisation to keep its charitable status. The pro-abortion group calling itself Catholics for a Free Choice has endorsed the project. [LifeSite Daily News, 24 May] The abortion clinic in Nebraska which lies at the heart of the Supreme Court challenge to the state's partial-birth abortion ban is to be forced to close. A partnership including local Senator Paul Hartnett has purchased the building which houses Dr LeRoy Carhart's facility and the doctor has been given six months to move out. [Omaha World-Herald, 23 May]

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