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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 29 September 2000

29 September 2000

29 September 2000 RU486, the abortion drug, has been approved for use in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration will allow physicians to supply the drug, which can cause uterine cramping, heavy bleeding and nausea in mothers as well as killing their unborn children. National Right to Life claims that, during US trials of Mifepristone (RU486), one woman nearly bled to death. President Clinton and Planned Parenthood Inc. have welcomed the decision. Vice-president Gore may challenge George W Bush to state his view on Mifepristone in debate next Tuesday. Mr Bush's father banned the pill when president in 1989. Republican Senator Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas has said that it would be difficult for Congress to block the decision during the current session. [BBC , CNN , Daily Telegraph, 29 September 2000 and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 29 September 2000] Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: "This is the Clinton administration's parting shot at the unborn. The grand finale to this president's term of office is to be the launching of chemical warfare against the most vulnerable members of American society." Mr Laurence Oates, the Official Solicitor, who has represented "Mary", the weaker conjoined twin at recent hearings in England, has denied that his actions have undermined the sanctity of life. He decided not to challenge an appeal court decision to allow doctors to separate the twins and thus cause Mary's death. [BBC ] Unborn children have long- and short-term memories, according to a Dutch study in which babies were repeatedly played sounds to which they became accustomed. Researchers at Maastricht University Hospital found that, while unborn children of between 37 and 40 weeks' gestation began by reacting to the sounds, they subsequently got used to them and did not react. The babies' memory was found to last as long as 24 hours. [BBC ] Long-term memory has previously been shown in babies from 20 weeks and earlier. A British judge has ruled that the ex-boyfriend of the mother of a seven-month-old girl should be considered as the girl's father, even though the child was conceived with another man's sperm through in vitro fertilisation. In describing the unusual nature of the case, Judge Mark Hedley told Liverpool high court that it highlighted "the difficulties ... in making use of the advances of medical science." [Daily Mail, 29 September 2000]

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