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News, 1 March 2001

1 March 2001

1 March 2001 Researchers in California have claimed that doctors are misinterpreting markers on ultra-sound scans which have been taken to indicate an increased chance of Down's syndrome. Dr Rebecca Smith-Bindman at the University of California in San Francisco said that only one of the seven markers often used by doctors to detect Down's syndrome was found to have any significant reliability and, even with this marker, only three percent of unborn babies were found to have Down's syndrome after an amniocentesis test. Dr Smith-Bindman said that between 10% and 14% of unborn children display at least one of the markers, but fewer than one percent actually have the syndrome. The researcher used her findings to claim that most amniocentesis tests, which carry a small risk of miscarriage, were "unnecessary". [AP, via Fox News, 28 February ] Alison Davis, head of SPUC's handicap division, who herself has spina bifida, commented: "The implication here seems to be that amniocentesis would be worthwhile if it could reliably detect a child with Down's syndrome. This constitutes a sinister form of potentially fatal discrimination against unborn children with Down's syndrome, whose lives are just as valuable as anyone else's." The premier of British Columbia has sought to make abortion a provincial election issue by strongly affirming his own anti-life stance. Mr Ujjal Dosanjg of Canada's New Democratic Party made a speech on Tuesday in which he described abortion rights as a "fundamental issue" and declared: "I want to tell you that I will fight to ensure that a woman's reproductive rights are safeguarded and never taken away. I'm proud of my work to ensure that women throughout BC will always have access to birth control--including the morning-after pill--and access to safe abortions." Mr Dosanjg warned that some candidates for the opposition Liberal party "want to take away a woman's right to choose". [LifeSite Daily News, 28 February ] Tommy Thompson, the US health and human services secretary, has said that scientists should continue to submit applications for federal funding of destructive embryonic stem cell research while the Bush administration considers whether to block such funding. Mr Thompson said that the final decision on whether to authorise the funding would be made by President Bush. Mr Thompson has expressed his personal support for embryonic stem cell research in the past, and told an interviewer for Associated Press: "I'm very strongly involved with research and research is important, but there are also legal and ethical questions that have got to be resolved." [AP, 28 February; via Northern Light ; etc.] A judge in San Francisco, California, has awarded $672,610 in damages to an immigrant from Yugoslavia whose unborn child lost two limbs in a botched abortion carried out in a Planned Parenthood clinic. The child's abortion was then completed a few months later at another clinic. It emerged in the court hearing that the immigrant was actually carrying twins, only one of whom was killed in the initial abortion procedure while the other was dismembered. Planned Parenthood did not tell the woman that she had twins but informed her that the abortion had been completed. The woman is now said to be suffering from severe post-abortion trauma. [ALL/STOPP media release, 28 February] A Methodist lobbying group in the United States is supporting an attempt to overturn President Bush's ban on federal funding of international pro-abortion groups. The United Methodist Board of Church and Society has endorsed a bill before congress which would repeal the president's executive order re-introducing the so-called Mexico City policy. President Bush is a Methodist. Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy said that the board's endorsement did not represent official Methodist policy. [Agape Press, 28 February ] A study commissioned by the Population Commission in the Philippines has claimed that one in six pregnancies in the country are ended by abortion, and that 25 out of every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 obtain induced abortions each year. Tomas Osias, executive director of the commission, said that abortion constituted the fourth highest cause of death among women. [Manila Times, 1 March ] Claims of high rates of unsafe backstreet abortions are a common ploy by pro-abortionists who seek the liberalisation of abortion laws. Their statistics almost always prove to be erroneous. A report prepared by the secretary-general of the United Nations has revealed that $42 million of Mr Ted Turner's money was used for population control last year. Mr Turner, the American media billionaire, donated $1 billion to the United Nations in 1998 to be administered through his own UN Foundation. [LifeSite Daily News, 28 February ]

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