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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 29 May 2001

29 May 2001

29 May 2001 The Women on the Waves Foundation has announced that its floating abortion clinic will go to Dublin in June. Dr Rebecca Gomperts, the Dutch abortionist behind the project, explained that the facility could provide abortions under Dutch law as long as it remained in international waters more than 12 miles off the Irish coast. John Smyth, a spokesman for the Irish pro-life campaign, said that his movement would be considering legal action but would not picket the boat since this would only generate further publicity. [Sunday Times, 27 May ; Irish News, 28 May ] A British charity has claimed that many carers of mentally ill people have been tempted by euthanasia. Gary Hogman, head of policy and campaigns at the National Schizophrenia Fellowship, claimed that, at every carers' group he had attended over 12 years, at least one person had admitted to having considered helping someone to die. Mr Hogman said that carers should be provided with greater information on their entitlements, training opportunities and options to ease their stress. [BBC News online, 27 May ] A hospital in Essex, England, has been pioneering a screening technique aimed at identifying unborn babies with Down's syndrome. The programme at Harold Wood hospital in Romford is currently being appraised by the economic and social research council. Over the past three years, 13,000 women have undergone a new form of screening at the hospital which involves the extraction of cells from the placenta rather than from the amniotic fluid surrounding the child. The technique offers women the chance to abort babies with Down's syndrome within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, two months earlier than is possible with conventional screening. The technique is also said to be more reliable. About 50 unborn children with the condition have so far been identified at the hospital, all of whom were aborted after their mothers received counselling. [The Guardian, 28 May ] This screening technique appears to be like chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Previous trials have indicated that the risk of unintended miscarriage is about twice as high with CVS as with amniocentesis. A 56-year-old British woman has given birth to twins by Caesarean section following in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. Lynn Bezant said she had no regrets after non-identical twins David and Susan were delivered at Horton general hospital in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Mrs Bezant already has three adult children but wanted a larger family and started the IVF process at the age of 52. The lady whose donated eggs were used by Mrs Bezant to conceive said that she felt "angry and betrayed". Miss Melanie Armstrong revealed that she had gone through a series of difficult extraction operations to help young, childless couples. [BBC News online, 26 May ; Daily Mail, 28 May] Most new human beings generated during IVF treatment die in the process. One expert has claimed that only 1.7 percent of IVF conceptions actually result in a live birth. [Dr E L Billings, India, August 1999] A developmental paediatrician in South Africa has claimed that foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is so widespread that it is having an impact on the country's crime rate. Dr Colleen Adnams believes that FAS affects over 5 percent of all South African children. FAS is caused when a woman drinks excessive amounts of alcohol during pregnancy, disrupting the development of her unborn child. Children with FAS may suffer learning or social problems as well as stunted growth and impairment of sight and speech. South Africa's Western Cape province is said to have the highest incidence of FAS in the world. [BBC News online, 27 May ] A medical centre in the United States which mishandled the cremation of an unborn child has been ordered to pay 120,000 dollars in compensation to the child's mother. Debra Atnip had her unborn son aborted at 19 weeks' gestation in 1994 after tests revealed that he had spina bifida. The jury in Tennessee found that the hospital had acted negligently by delaying the child's cremation for seven months and then failing to return the ashes to his mother until more than a year had elapsed after the abortion. [The Tennessean, 26 May ]

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