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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 25 April 2001

25 April 2001

25 April 2001 The head of a London fertility clinic and one of his patients have failed in an attempt to bring a judicial review of the rule which limits to three the number of embryos who can be implanted during in vitro fertilisation treatment [see digest for 23 April]. Mr Justice Ouseley at the High Court in London dismissed the application because he decided that there was no arguable case. Mr Mohammed Taranissi, head of the clinic which submitted the application, said that he would probably take the matter to the Court of Appeal because it was "a matter of principle and, if nothing else, it will make people think about the issue". [BBC News online, 24 April ] A contributor to a British medical publication has claimed that the study often cited to prove the safety of the abortifacient morning-after pill was flawed. The writer of a letter published in The Lancet observed that the World Health Organisation's much cited trial of the drug used a sample of only 100 women who took the regimen only once. One of these women died of meningitis, while 21 "were lost to follow-up". [LifeSite, 23 April ; The Lancet, vol.357, no.9263, 14 April] The government of China has introduced legislation to ban sex-selective abortions. Zhang Weiqing, minister in charge of the state family planning commission, told a standing committee of the National People's Congress that abortions based on gender preferences had "seriously impaired the gender balance of the population" and that the draft law strictly prohibited the identification of an unborn baby 's sex when there was "no medical purpose". However, the draft law upholds China's population control policy which limits couples to one child, or two children if certain "legal conditions" are met. [People's Daily, 24 April ] The government of Singapore is encouraging its population to have more children. Initiatives include a government-sponsored Baby Bonus Scheme which offers financial incentives to couples who have a second or third child, the extension of maternity leave, the introduction of paternity leave and media campaigns encouraging Singaporeans to have more sex. The birth rate in Singapore has dropped to 1.5 children per woman of childbearing age. [Omaha World-Herald, 25 April ] In 1996, there were 14,400 abortions in Singapore. This constituted a rate of 15.9 per 1,000 women aged 15-44, or 22.8 abortions for every 100 known pregnancies. [Family Planning Perspectives, January 1999] A comatose woman in Florida is to be dehydrated and starved to death. The 2nd District Court of Appeal authorised the withdrawal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tubes at the request of her husband and against the wishes of her parents, who claimed that she recognised and reacted to them. On Monday, Anthony Kennedy, the US Supreme Court justice who hears emergency appeals from Florida, refused to intervene in the case. Mrs Schiavo has been in a coma for more than 10 years after suffering a heart attack. [AP, 24 April; via Pro-Life Infonet] A malpractice trial in Milwaukee, USA, has heard how abortionists accidentally poisoned and killed a woman while they were aborting her unborn child. The lethal chemical, which was intended to kill Linda Bloom's unborn child because he or she had Down's syndrome, got into Mrs Bloom's bloodstream and caused fatal heart damage in 1995. The doctor who administered the injection denies negligence. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 24 April ]

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