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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 11 January 2001

11 January 2001

11 January 2001 Kent County Council in southern England is planning to block the provision of morning-after pills to girls in its schools. The news comes after national newspapers revealed earlier this week that nurses in the Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet areas of Kent, as well as in other counties, were preparing to distribute morning-after pills to pupils even if they were under 16 without informing parents [see news digest for 8 January ]. Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, Conservative leader of the council, said: "We are extremely concerned. It appears parents were unaware, and when I rang the chairman of the health authority he knew nothing about it." [This is London, 10 January ] The Supreme Court of Argentina will today (Thursday) hold an emergency session to decide whether doctors may induce labour in a woman whose unborn child reportedly has no brain or cranium. The woman, who is seven months pregnant, had been given permission to have her child aborted by the Buenos Aires superior court after medical reports indicated that the child's chance of survival outside the womb for longer than a minute to 12 hours was "nil". However, a legal advocate appealed against the ruling, insisting that it would be "an infringement of the unborn child's right to life". Perla Pregoshin, attorney for the woman, argued that induced labour was different to abortion because "there is no intention of killing the baby". She further contended that it would constitute "medical cruelty" to keep the unborn child "in the womb another two months so that all of us could sleep without a worry". [Agencia EFE, 10 January; via Northern Light ] The government of Vietnam plans to spend 17 million dollars this year on a population control programme which will include the provision of access to abortion. The reported aim is to reduce the country's birth rate by 0.05 percent. [LifeSite Daily News, 10 January ] Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, has praised the US Congress for awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Pope John Paul II. The award was made in recognition of the Pope's use of "his moral authority to hasten the fall of godless totalitarian regimes". In accepting the award, the Pope said that he saw it as a sign that the legislators recognised "the importance of defending human dignity without compromise". Judie Brown urged members of Congress to heed "the Catholic Church's flawless teaching on abortion" and said: "It's about time that Congress and the pro-life movement applied the principles enunciated by the Pope. The defense of human dignity without compromise should apply to every American person, including the pre-born." [American Life League media release, 10 January] The provincial government of New Brunswick, Canada, has told the federal health minister, who has complained about the province's refusal to fund abortions in private clinics, to put his complaints in writing [see news digest for 8 January ]. Dennis Furlong, New Brunswick's health minister, said that he and Allan Rock, the federal health minister, had spoken on the telephone and had "agreed to disagree". Meanwhile, the government of the only Canadian province to be completely free of all abortions in its area has insisted that it sees no reason to change its policy despite federal government pressure. Prince Edward Island pays for its citizens to obtain abortions in other provinces, though not in private clinics. [Montreal Gazette and LifeSite Daily News, 10 January ] Police in Bareilly, India, have found the bodies of 11 "foetuses" in a dustbin near the district hospital. According to an Indian national newspaper, circumstantial evidence suggested that the bodies were of unborn children who had been aborted and then disposed of when their mothers did not claim them. [The Times of India, 9 January ]

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