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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 8 January 2001

8 January 2001

8 January 2001 Britain's SPUC has reacted "with concern but not surprise" to reports in the national media that the morning-after pill is being made available in some schools without parental knowledge or consent. It was reported that six schools in Derbyshire and Oxfordshire were already providing the abortifacient drug to schoolgirls, while 12 further schools in Oxfordshire and Kent were actively preparing to do so. John Smeaton, national director of SPUC, said: "We have known about this scheme for some time and it was entirely expected that it would expand to more and more schools. The easy availability of morning-after pills is central to the government's strategy on teenage pregnancy, a strategy which has received [prime minister] Tony Blair's strong personal support." Mr Smeaton stressed that morning-after pills were not contraceptives but were intended to work by preventing a newly conceived human being from implanting in the womb, thus literally starving him or her to death. He concluded: "Distributing morning-after pills in schools brings abortion into the classroom and endangers the health of vulnerable girls. This is another example of the government, in denial of evidence, promoting a dogmatic social policy with no regard for human dignity." [Daily Mail, BBC News online and SPUC media release , 8 January 2001] Doctors are said to be so pleased with the progress of Jodie, the Siamese twin who was separated from her sister Mary last November, that she might be allowed to go home with her parents within weeks. Mary was killed during the operation to separate the pair. Doctors in Manchester, England, had originally feared that Jodie might have to stay in hospital for 12 months or even up to five years. Michaelangelo and Rina Attard, the twins' parents, now have to decide whether to return to Gozo without Jodie for Mary's funeral or wait until Jodie can accompany them. [Guardian Unlimited, 8 January 2001 ] Catholic doctors in Argentina have asked the government to amend a law which could allow sales of the RU-486 abortion drug in their country. The Catholic Doctors Consortium petitioned the public health minister to change a law which gives the public access to drugs already authorised for use in other countries. The doctors asked for abortion drugs and abortifacient birth control drugs to be excluded from automatic authorisation under the law. [LifeSite Daily News, 5 January 2001 ] The federal government of Canada is heading for a confrontation with the provincial government of New Brunswick over the province's refusal to fund abortions in private clinics. Allan Rock, federal health minister, claimed that the province was violating the Canada Health Act, and it was reported that federal healthcare funding for the province could be cut if it refused to change its policy. Peter Ryan, executive director of New Brunswick Right to Life, accused Mr Rock of "basically making this up" and insisted that provinces had the right to decide how tax-payers' money was spent in respect of abortions. [The Globe and Mail, 5 January 2001 ] Abortion providers in New York City have launched advertisements for the RU-486 abortion drug, also known as mifepristone, on the city's subway system. Planned Parenthood of New York City unveiled the advertisements which bear the slogan, "The choice is now in your hand." [LifeSite Daily News, 5 January 2001 ] The deputy managing director of the company which markets the RU-486 abortion pill in Israel has complained that sales of the drug, trademarked Mifegyne, over the last 15 months have been way below expectation. Shlomo Unis, whose company Lapidot Pharmaceuticals sends between 200 and 250 packs of the drug to approved hospitals every month, said: "I can't explain the reason for it underuse at a time when the total number of legal abortions here remains stable." There are about 22,000 legal abortions in Israel every year. [The Jerusalem Post, 8 January 2001 ]

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