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News, 12 October 2001

12 October 2001

12 October 2001 The government of Chile is to distribute the abortifacient morning-after pill free of charge. The Santiago appeals court approved sales of the Postinor-2 morning-after pill on Wednesday, and a Chilean laboratory has offered to donate free doses of the drug for distribution by the government. The move comes despite the fact that Chile's supreme court banned the sale and manufacture of the Postinal morning-after pill, which contains the same active ingredient as Postinor, on the basis that it killed pre-implantation embryos and so contravened Chile's pro-life constitution. [Agencia EFE, 11 October; via Northern Light ] Paul Tully, general secretary of SPUC, commented: "This action by the Chilean government smacks of an arrogant and manipulative regime that does not accept the rule of law." China has banned the sale of the RU-486 abortion drug in pharmacies. The Chinese state drug administration announced that RU-486, also known as mifepristone, would only be administered in hospital under the care of a doctor after concerns were raised that unsupervised use of the drug endangered the health of pregnant women. [AFP, 11 October; via Pro-Life E-News] The lower house of Nepal's parliament has voted to legalise abortion in certain cases. The 11th amendment to the civil code, which was passed by members of the Nepalese house of representatives last Tuesday, would permit abortion up to the 10th week of pregnancy in cases of rape or incest, and up to birth in cases of foetal anomaly or danger to the health of the mother. In all cases, the consent of a woman's husband or guardian would be required before the abortion could be performed. The legislation also includes the provision of prison sentences for those who procure abortions on the grounds of an unborn child's sex. The National Assembly, Nepal's upper house of parliament, will now consider the legislation, after which it would require King Gyanendra's assent to become law. [AFP, 10 October; via Pro-Life E-News] German researchers have suggested that a maternal gene thought to be a factor in miscarriages and premature births might also facilitate an embryo's implantation in his or her mother's womb. A team at the university of Lübeck discovered that embryos generated through IVF treatment were more likely to implant in the wombs of women with the Factor-V Leiden mutation in their genetic make-up than those without it. Dr Andrew Sharkey, a researcher at Cambridge University, observed that very little was known about the genetics of implantation but that there were probably many factors involved. [BBC News online, 11 October ] A controversial cloning expert has claimed that a woman could be implanted with a cloned embryo before the end of the year. Dr Panayiotis Zavos told the Reuters news agency: "It is going well enough so we may attempt the first production of embryos, cloned embryos, in the very near future. That is, three or four months from now." The experiments are thought to be taking place in Cyprus. [Reuters, 9 October; via Pro-Life E-News] The media is reporting that Madonna, the American singer, has dismissed claims made in a new book that she has had 11 abortions. Barbara Victor refused to retract the claim in her unauthorised biography of the singer that "Madonna would be the mother of 13 children if she hadn't had 11 abortions". [Australian Daily Telegraph, 12 October ]

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