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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 25 October 2001

25 October 2001

25 October 2001 The Irish government's plan to hold a new referendum on abortion before the general election in June have been dealt a blow by the Fine Gael opposition party. Fine Gael is to move a set of amendments to the bill which would permit the referendum to go ahead, and this could postpone the bill's second reading for three months. The Irish Labour party, Ireland's second largest opposition party, has already announced its opposition to the referendum. [Ananova, 25 October] Official figures have indicated that there were 89 abortions performed in Guernsey last year, and a further 25 abortions performed on Guernsey residents in England. This equates to an abortion rate of 177 per 1,000 live births, compared to 227 per 1,000 live births in England and Wales. The local board of health defended the figures by claiming that the number of abortions performed on Guernsey residents had not risen since the legalisation of abortion there in 1997, but pro-lifers pointed out that the figures were not reliable because they depended on accurate information being supplied by women who had abortions outside the bailiwick. [Channel Islands Right to Life, 24 October] A fertility clinic in Sheffield, England, is offering free in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment to women in return for egg donations. The so-called egg-sharing initiative at the Sheffield Fertility Centre aims to help those who cannot afford the minimum cost of £1,500 for treatment. Paul Tully, general secretary of SPUC, commented: "This will create pressure on women who would not choose, or could not afford IVF, to go in for it. Many women don't want to think that someone else is bearing their (genetic) baby, or that their embryonic children are being used as guinea-pigs: this is what 'egg-sharing' means. The pressures on childless women will force some to contemplate the unthinkable." [BBC News online, 23 October ; SPUC] The vast majority of unborn children created in IVF treatment die during the process. A survey has found that at least 84 unborn children, and possibly many more, were aborted at or after 24 weeks' gestation in Australia during the past three years. The survey of doctors who specialise in ultrasound testing also found that 64% of respondents would be willing to perform late abortions on the basis of foetal abnormality, and 16% of these would also be willing to perform late abortions for any reason. Dr Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, an independent ethics consultant, observed that the findings showed that abortionists were practising "reproductive discrimination" in deciding who should live and who should die. [The Age, 25 October ] Ms Geri Halliwell, a former member of the Spice Girls and now a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), will today launch a website for children under 16 which promotes abortion. The UNFPA assigned the singer to work for Marie Stopes International (MSI), an abortion provider based in London. In a press release, MSI confirmed that the website, which accuses pro-life groups of failing to provide "unbiased or objective information", is aimed at 11 to 15-year-olds. [LifeSite, 24 October ]

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