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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 28 June 2001

28 June 2001

28 June 2001 Researchers have warned that exposure of unborn male children in the first three months of pregnancy to high levels of certain chemicals is causing marked decreases in fertility as well as higher rates of testicular cancer and genital malformations. So-called gender bending chemicals which mimic oestrogen are used in the manufacture of cosmetics, furniture, plastics and other household items, and have been found at high levels in human urine. Two recent scientific reports have linked exposure to these chemicals with a condition known as testicular dysgenesis syndrome. Professor Niels Skakkebaek of the University of Copenhagen, who suggested that the syndrome had a foetal origin, commented: "I don't want to exaggerate this problem. But I am now very concerned for the future." [Daily Mail, 28 June] A minister has reaffirmed the British government's commitment to increase funding for palliative care. In a written House of Commons answer, Ms Yvette Cooper, the public health minister, said that National Health Service investment in specialist palliative care would increase by 50 million pounds by 2004, thus enabling "a realistic contribution to the cost hospices incur in providing agreed levels of service". SPUC urged the British prime minister last week to seek improvements in palliative care rather than the legalisation of euthanasia. [House of Commons Hansard, 27 June ; SPUC media release, 23 June ] The Philippines Commission on Population has warned that poverty is causing an increasing number of Filipino women to resort to illegal abortion. The commission, which was established by the Philippines government in 1970, has published its State of the Philippine Population Report 2000 which looks into the incidence of abortion in the country. The report claims that the "cost of having another child and the impact of this on the entire family prevailed over religious prohibitions". [Inquirer News Service, 27 June ; Popcom website ] The claim that illegal so-called backstreet abortions are rife is a common ploy of pro-abortionists. In the past, such claims have been proven to be exaggerated. The Roman Catholic archdiocese of New Orleans, Louisiana, has insisted that no member of staff at any of its 103 Catholic schools, regardless of faith, may procure or assist in procuring an abortion. A three-page lifestyle policy document handed out with contract renewals by school officials states that an infringement of the rules may lead to termination of employment. [LifeSite, 27 June ] Defence lawyers for an American woman accused of stabbing her baby to death are seeking to rule out a homicide charge on the basis that the wounds were inflicted while the child was still in the birth canal. A judge in Wisconsin made no immediate ruling on whether Sandra Melnik could be bound over for trial on charges of first-degree intentional homicide because pathologists disagreed over whether the child had taken a breath. Only if air was found to have entered the baby's lungs could he or she be legally recognised as having been born alive, thus allowing a homicide charge to be brought. [AP, via Gazette Extra, 22 June ] Planned Parenthood of Hawaii will soon be offering the RU-486 abortion drug and earlier surgical abortions to the islands' women. Mr John Long, executive director of Hawaii Right to Life, described RU-486 as unsafe and "horrific". He claimed that the drug could be more psychologically devastating to women than surgical abortions, and that Planned Parenthood were simply motivated by profit. [Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 27 June ]

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