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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 21 March 2001

21 March 2001

21 March 2001 An abortion clinic has told the English high court that it will perform more tests on a woman whose partner is trying to stop her from terminating her pregnancy. As mentioned in Monday's digest , Mr Stephen Hone is claiming that the west midlands clinic acted outside the 1967 Abortion Act by failing to consult a second doctor and by omitting to ask about the mother's physical and mental condition. The court did not stop the abortion from proceeding and, if it does take place, Mr Hone wants to bury the dead child. [BBC, 20 March ] US senators are trying to reverse President Bush's decision to stop aid to organisations which promote abortion overseas. A group of five Republicans and two Democrats say they have the necessary support of at least 23 other senators to force discussion of their resolution under an act which was recently used to overturn rules made by former President Clinton. [Washington Post, 20 March ] Mothers of chronically ill children have told researchers how caring for their sick offspring has strengthened their families. A survey of 190 mothers by Johns Hopkins Childrens' Center, Maryland, found that looking after children aged seven to 12 with conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and sickle cell anaemia tended to improve parenting skills and promoted sensitivity and tolerance. [BBC, 21 March ] Many disabled babies are aborted, often, it is suggested, because of the problems they might cause parents. Murder is the commonest cause of death among pregnant women in America according to a survey carried out by the Maryland department of health and mental hygiene and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. A previous British study by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists found that one third of assaults on women first happened when they were pregnant. [The Independent, 21 March ] The number of pregnant American women suffering from pre-eclampsia rose by one third during the 1990s according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). An NIH group is to meet next month to discuss new research on the problem. Pre-eclampsia can threaten the lives of mothers and babies. Severe cases can require immediate Caesarian delivery. [CNN, 13 March ] The Canadian Institutes for Health Research are reported to be about to publish guidelines for obtaining stem cells from embryos created by in vitro fertilisation with parents' consent. [Vancouver Sun, 21 March ] While abortion is presently illegal in Nepal and can incur a three-year prison sentence, a bill before the Nepalese parliament would allow abortion in cases of rape, incest and danger to women's lives. Married women could abort their children of up to 12 weeks' gestation with their husbands' consent. [CNN, 21 March ] Such provisions are unlikely to result in any significant limit on abortions. The government of Chile has authorised the sale of abortifacient morning-after pills. The health minister said she was advised that such pills were not harmful. The country's Catholic university has condemned the move. [Zenit, 20 March ] Local government officials in California are expected to ask the Bush administration if they can ban abortifacient morning-after pills from state health clinics. Supervisors in San Bernardino county need federal permission to stop offering the pills. The Right to Life League has alleged that government money is being used to fund abortion while Planned Parenthood call the proposed ban a disservice to women. [The Boston Globe, 20 March ]

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