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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 8 November 2000

8 November 2000

8 November 2000 Hillary Clinton, the pro-abortionist American first lady who said that she would support the campaign to liberalise abortion laws in Brazil if elected to the US Senate [see digest for 1 September ] won her race in New York last night. In May, Mrs Clinton had commented: "I intend to be a voice and a vote and an advocate for women's rights on behalf of a woman's right to choose [an abortion]." [BBC News online, 8 November ; CNN, 25 May ] Professor Lord Winston, the British fertility expert, has said that women are often pressurised into having in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment when the simpler, cheaper and often more effective option of surgery to unblock fallopian tubes could enable them to conceive naturally. Addressing the Millennium Festival of Medicine in London, Lord Winston said: "We have to look very carefully at the overall picture. We should try to restore fertility first instead of immediately using the blunderbuss which IVF still sadly is." He observed that fertility clinics often lacked expertise in tubal surgery, but that "surgery is cheaper than IVF, offers restoration of fertility and does not carry the risk of a multiple birth." [The Independent, 8 November ] Dominic Baster, information officer at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, observed: "Lord Winston omits to mention that surgery also avoids the high so-called wastage rates of IVF, whereby many new and unique human beings are killed or discarded in the process and thus denied any recognition of their right to life as members of the human family." The ProLife Alliance, whose last-ditch attempt to prevent the separation of Siamese twins Jodie and Mary failed last week in the English courts, yesterday expressed their regret at Mary's death and their hope that Jodie would make a full recovery. They also criticised the way in which St Mary's hospital in Manchester had handled the situation. Their statement concluded: "We are absolutely shocked at the hospital's cowardly and misleading statement that 'despite all the efforts of the medical team Mary died'. There was never any possible chance of survival for Mary once the operation began as the medical team was perfectly aware ... The hospital should now have the courage of its convictions and not try to hide behind euphemistic press statements." [ProLife Alliance press statement, 7 November] There are reports that pro-abortion campaigners in Ireland are mobilising to resist calls for another referendum on the issue. Ms Sinéad Kennedy, speaking for the pro-choice campaign, said that a number of pro-abortion groups would be joining forces to lobby members of parliament, march and publicise their calls for legislation instead of a referendum. She said that such legislation should, at the very least, put the 1992 Supreme Court ruling that abortion could be performed in cases of a serious threat to the life of the mother, including suicide, on a statutory footing. [The Irish Times, 6 November ] Researchers at the University of North Carolina in the US have suggested that mothers who take additional calcium before and during pregnancy may prevent their unborn children from being exposed to unhealthy levels of lead. Exposure to lead has been linked to impairment of growth, hearing and intelligence, as well as behavioural problems. The researchers concluded that unborn babies sapped their mother's bone tissue to gain calcium if there were insufficient amounts of calcium in the mother's diet, but bone tissue also contains lead which the unborn babies take in as well. [Nando Media, 6 November ] The inventor of the RU-486 abortion pill has described as "immoral" the Australian government's support for legislation which, since 1996, has placed such tight restrictions on the drug's importation that it has been virtually banned. Professor Etienne-Emile Baulieu said: "Australia has such an image of progress and freedom, and care for health problems. But this is really terrible." Jenny Macklin, the Australian opposition's health spokesman, said that she personally supported the introduction of RU-486. [The Age, 5 November ] Meanwhile, it has been reported that misoprostol, the prostaglandin drug which is often used in tandem with RU-486 to induce abortions, is being used on its own to induce abortions in Australia against the guidelines of Searle, the drug's manufacturer. One private clinic in Melbourne was said to be routinely supplying women with misoprostol to induce abortions between 12 and 18 weeks into pregnancy, despite warnings from Searle that to use the drug in this way posed a variety of serious health dangers to the women. [The Age, 5 November ]

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