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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 1 September 2000

1 September 2000

1 September 2000 The Scottish Executive [which exercises powers recently devolved to Scotland from London] has said that it will consider calls to allow school nurses to hand out the [abortifacient] morning-after pill without a doctor's prescription to girls as young as 12. Parental consent would not be required. A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said: "This proposal is in line with our aim of reducing unwanted teenage pregnancies." The suggestion was put forward by Dr Anna Glasier, clinical director of family planning at the Lothian primary care National Health Service trust, one of the largest NHS trusts in Scotland. This was the same trust which last year pioneered a new scheme whereby women were given advance supplies of the morning-after pill to keep at home. A change in the law would be necessary to allow school nurses to prescribe the morning-after pill, and the idea has met with opposition from a number of quarters. Mrs Mary Scanlon, the Scottish Conservative party's health and social work spokeswoman, said that she had "deep reservations about this proposal". Fr Danny McLoughlin, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, expressed concern that the move would mean young people thinking that they can have sex without any consequences. "This is not the case, and it is unfair to young people to let them believe so," he said. [The Herald&Scottish Daily Mail, 28 August] The legislature in the Mexican state of Morelos has passed a new law which extends the grounds for legal abortions. Despite vocal protests from pro-life campaigners, the legislature voted to decriminalise abortion in a number of cases including rape, birth defects, a threat to the mother's life, unauthorised artificial insemination and when the mother has had an accident. The new legislation goes further than the new law passed recently in Mexico City and comes at a time when the topic of abortion law has become a subject of nationwide political debate. [Washington Post, 31 August] Hillary Clinton has offered to support the campaign to liberalise abortion laws in Brazil if she is elected to the US senate. Abortion is illegal in Brazil in most cases but, in an interview with the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, the American first lady said: "I can help Brazil to find its way to legalise abortion." [EWTN News, 30 August] A Canadian professor who has spent more than 15 years studying the experience of pain in babies born prematurely has added his voice to recent concerns about the pain suffered by unborn babies during abortions. Professor Ken Craig, a researcher and professor in psychology at the University of British Columbia, said: "My experience is they do experience pain. I say we should give the babies the benefit of the doubt. At 24-25 weeks post-conception, a foetus displays all of the physiological and behavioural reactions you observe in children and adults." [Vancouver Province, 30 August; from Pro-Life E-News] The former president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) has been appointed US ambassador to Norway. Robin Chandler Duke was given NARAL's lifetime achievement award in 1997 and has promoted financial and political support for the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund. He also recently donated 1,000 dollars to Al Gore's presidential campaign. [NRL, 29 August; from Pro-Life Infonet, 31 August]

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