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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 2 April 2001

2 April 2001

2 April 2001 Amniocentesis could cause more miscarriages than the number of babies in whom it detects Down's syndrome. Researchers at St Bartholomew's medical school, London, found that, of 40,000 women who had the prenatal test in one year, 400 subsequently miscarried babies who did not have the syndrome. One hundred cases of Down's were detected. Professor Kypros Nicolaides, head of foetal medicine at King's College hospital, London, has criticised "an explosion in invasive testing since the 1970s". [Sunday Times, 1 April ] Alison Davis of SPUC's Handicap Division said: "This report shows the extent of the carnage. It is ironic that Professor Nicolaides is complaining, since he introduced at least one of the common tests. These deaths--of non-disabled babies and the disabled who, once detected, are aborted--are quite un-necessary. All 'search and destroy' screening must stop." The judge in charge of English family courts has authorised the withdrawal of food and fluid from a 73-year-old woman who has been in a coma since having a stroke in 1993. Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss acceeded to requests from the unidentified woman's family, though the hospital believed that the patient might retain some awareness. The court was told that the woman's mind had permanently ceased to function. Withdrawal of food and fluid is expected to take place before the end of this month. [The Times, 31 March ] Women who have chemotherapy and then try to bear children through in vitro fertilisation may have an increased likelihood of miscarriage and malformed children. British and Israeli researchers have found that chemotherapy with cylophosphamide caused pregnancy problems in mice, particularly in the case of immature eggs. [BBC, 30 March ] Animal stem cells could be used to rebuild human tissue damaged by heart attacks, according to the US National Human Genome Institute. Experiments on mice showed how bone marrow cells injected into hearts developed into new cardiac muscle. [BBC, 31 March ] The child of Mr Stephen Hone (see news digest of 21 March ) was cremated on 20 March, the day after he or she had been aborted. Mr Hone went to court to try to prevent the abortion or, if it went ahead, to be allowed to bury his child. While the clinic which was initially due to perform the termination undertook to give Mr Hone notice of the child's disposal, the procedure took place elsewhere. Sources suggest that the baby was dead before Mr Hone's court hearing. [The Guardian, 31 March ] The US federal appeals court has ruled unanimously that a website should be allowed to publish the names and home addresses of doctors who perform abortions. Judges ruled that, while the American Coalition of Life Activists' statements were offensive, they did not threaten violence. [Daily Telegraph, 30 March]

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