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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 15 June 2001

15 June 2001

15 June 2001 Aurora, the Dutch floating abortion clinic, docked in Dublin last night. Joke van Kampen, a spokeswoman for the Women on the Waves foundation, said that the boat's crew hoped to stir a campaign for the liberalisation of Ireland's abortion laws. They also intend to provide the RU-486 abortion drug outside Irish territorial waters. Human Life International has chartered its own floating advice clinic which will moor alongside the Aurora and offer pro-life counselling. [Irish Independent, 15 June ; CNN, 13 June ] A study in the UK has suggested that unborn children are at greater risk of acquiring developmental anomalies such as spina bifida or cleft palates if their mothers take normal doses of epilepsy drugs during pregnancy. [Both of these conditions have been cited as grounds for abortion up to birth in Britain.] A report in Health Which? magazine suggests that many pregnant women are not being told that they should lower their doses. In a study of pregnant women who took drugs to control epilepsy, 11 out of the 59 who did not receive counselling about the risk went on to have babies with some kind of anomaly, whereas none of the 90 women who did receive counselling gave birth to babies with an anomaly. The report does not make clear how many of the women in either group had abortions. [BBC News online, 11 June ] New legislation to protect babies who survive botched abortions was introduced in both houses of the US Congress yesterday. The Born Alive Infants Protection Act was introduced in the Senate by Rick Santorum and in the House of Representatives by Steve Chabot. The measure would recognise as fully human under federal law all babies born alive, regardless of whether their stage of development allowed them a chance of long-term survival. A similar measure was passed by the House last year, but died in the Senate. [Cybercast News Service, 14 June ] A Massachusetts state senator has abandoned his long-standing pro-life stance. Massachusetts Citizens for Life had given Democrat senator Brian A Joyce a 100 percent approval rating. However, Mr Joyce is now running for Congress and a poll in his district has indicated that a large majority of voters support abortion rights. On Tuesday Mr Joyce announced: "I have been grappling with the fundamental issue of whether government should impose my personal belief on others, and I have come to the conclusion that it should not." He insisted that he would now always vote to uphold Roe v Wade. [The Boston Globe, 13 June ]

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