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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 7 November 2001

7 November 2001

7 November 2001 The US attorney general has effectively quashed Oregon's law which permits assisted suicide. Mr John Ashcroft ruled that taking the life of a terminally ill patient was not a "legitimate medical purpose" for federally controlled drugs, thereby reversing the decision of his predecessor, Ms Janet Reno, in 1998. Doctors who now help their patients to die under the terms of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act will face the suspension or revocation of their licences to prescribe federally controlled drugs. Oregon was the only American state to permit assisted suicide, and President Bush had signalled his opposition to the law. [Seattle Times and Washington Post , 6 November] A hospital in Australia is claiming contributory negligence against a woman on the basis that she did not have an abortion after doctors botched her sterilisation. Louise May Farrell developed a phobia of pregnancy after the painful labour and birth of her first son, and claims that she was horrified to learn that she had become pregnant again after undergoing a sterilisation operation at Hawkesbury district hospital near Sydney. However, Ms Farrell did not have an abortion on account of her pro-life views and is now seeking damages for the physical and emotional injuries and expense caused by the birth. [Australian Daily Telegraph, 7 November ] A Canadian pro-life news service has revealed that Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the international relief organisation which collectively won the Nobel peace prize in 1999, supports abortion. MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, has provided medical utensils for abortions in North Korea and abortion-inducing morning-after pills to refugees. Chris Torgeson, a spokesman for MSF, also admitted that MSF doctors perform abortions in countries where "abortion is an important part of family planning policy." [LifeSite, 6 November ] One in five nurses in British accident and emergency departments are conducting secret pregnancy tests on girls as young as nine, according to a survey carried out by the Royal College of Nursing. Children arriving at hospital with stomach pains are being tested without their knowledge or that of their parents, especially if the child needs an X-ray which may harm a developing baby. [BBC News online, 7 November ] Many pregnant under-age girls come under pressure from various sources to have abortions. John A Robertson, chairman of the ethics committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), has given his support to in vitro sex selection of embryos for non-medical reasons. However, Dr Robert Rebar, associate executive director of the ASRM, said that the organisation stood by its previous policy of discouraging sex selection. [Buffalo News, 4 November ] Geri Halliwell, the former Spice Girl who is now a goodwill ambassador for the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund and who campaigns on behalf of Marie Stopes International, a major abortion provider, has suggested that she is proud to be a virgin. During a live web-chat to launch a new website which provides information about sex and abortion to under-16s, Ms Halliwell said: "... virginity is precious... It's not some villainous disease that you've got to get rid of as soon as possible. Feel proud to be a virgin--I am." [Western Mail, 26 October; Likeitis website , Marie Stopes International]

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