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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 22 November 2000

22 November 2000

22 November 2000 Scientists in Hong Kong have successfully identified unborn babies with Down's syndrome by analysing blood samples taken from their mothers. Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, whose study was published in this week's edition of The Lancet, used a technique known as fluorescence in-situ hybridisation (FISH) to test foetal DNA present in a pregnant woman's own blood. The test is less intrusive than amniocentesis, which requires the extraction of a sample of amniotic fluid from inside the womb, and the researchers have recommended large scale trials to assess the new technique's accuracy. [The Independent, 22 November ; BBC News online, 21 November ] Alison Davis, co-ordinator of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children's handicap division, commented: "It is offensively misleading to suggest that this new test is an advance on older ones because in fact the new test increases the risk that a disabled child will be detected and killed by abortion." [SPUC media release, 22 November ] The British government has recently pledged a further 25 million pounds to the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund, on top of its "annual core contribution" of 15 million pounds. George Foulkes, parliamentary under-secretary of state for international development, confirmed the pledge in a House of Commons written answer. He said that the sum would "help meet immediate and short-term needs, and assure continued access to essential reproductive health commodities". [Hansard, 20 November] A prominent Canadian abortionist has endorsed Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and his Liberal party ahead of next week's general election. Henry Morgentaler, described as the father of abortion in Canada, said: "We know that Prime Minister Jean Chrétien has promised to protect women's right to reproductive freedom. The Liberal party can be considered a pro-choice party, although it has about two dozen MPs who are anti-choice. It is to the credit of Mr Chrétien that the anti-choice members were kept in check and did no damage." Dr Morgentaler continued: "...there is one overriding concern - to defeat the Alliance party of Stockwell Day." [LifeSite News, 21 November ] A top anti-discrimination official has admitted that abortions carried out on the basis of foetal disability could breach anti-discrimination laws in New South Wales, Australia. Mr Chris Puplick, head of the New South Wales anti-discrimination board, said that his body would be prepared to carry out an investigation into the issue if a complaint were made by parents disputing a particular abortion. He insisted that consideration would not be given to any test case brought by pro-life groups which were not acting on behalf of a named person. [Sydney Morning Herald, 21 November ] As shipments of the RU-486 abortion drug started to arrive in the United States from China, the president of the American Life League condemned the slogan under which the drug will be marketed - "Early option to problem pregnancy." Judie Brown said: "The truth is, this human pesticide regimen - combining Mifeprex and Cytotec - starves a human being to death." [EWTN News, 21 November ] A team of researchers in the United States have suggested that the routine screening of pregnant women for thyroid deficiency could reduce the number of miscarriages. Scientists at the Foundation for Blood Research in Maine discovered that 209 out of 9,000 pregnant women who agreed to tests had thyroid deficiency, a condition which they said significantly increased pregnancy complications. Thyroid deficiency can easily be remedied by taking a safe and inexpensive pill daily. [BBC News online, 22 November ]

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