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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 9 October 2001

9 October 2001

9 October 2001 A retired Irish high court judge has criticised the definition of abortion in a government bill to amend the country's constitution. Mr Rory O'Hanlon is also reported to have questioned the way in which the referendum on the amendment is being carried out. The definition suggests that the unborn only deserve protection after implantation and would thus allow morning-after pills and intra-uterine devices. [Sunday Times via Zenit on EWTN, 8 October ] SPUC and the International Right to Life Federation have also condemned the definition of abortion. Major scientific, medical and religious authorities agree that life starts at fertilisation. [SPUC news of 5 October ] The Population Research Institute has claimed that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is wrong to deny its involvement with China's coercive family-planning programmes. The institute interviewed Chinese in areas where the UNFPA operates and found that the one-child policy was ruthlessly implemented through forced abortion and sterilisation. UNFPA shared offices with government family-planning officials, suggesting that it had full knowledge of, and widespread complicity with, coercive activities. The institute is urging the United States not to give money to UNFPA. [CWNews.com/LSN.ca on EWTN, 8 October , and PRI briefing, 4 October] Repeated steroid injections for expectant mothers could damage unborn children, according to the journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers found that weekly shots of corticosteroids could cause bleeding in babies' brains, and they suspected that there were other dangers. The injections tend to be given to women who risk giving birth prematurely. The study found, however, that just a single course of injections two to seven days before birth could guard against lung problems and/or save premature babies' lives. [AP on CNN, 2 October ] A leading academic who teaches about human values has said that severely disabled children might be ethically killed during infancy. Professor Peter Singer of the Center for Human Values, Princeton University, New Jersey, was speaking during a panel discussion organised by the governor of New Hampshire's commission on disability. Opposition to his views came from disabled people and their relatives. Dr Singer, who is president of Animal Rights International, wrote a paper in 1985 which suggested that parents could kill disabled children aged up to 28 days. He opposes the killing of children with conditions such as Down's syndrome which do not threaten life. [Nashua Telegraph, 6 October ] Doctors may attempt human cloning in December or January, according to Dr Panayiotis Zavos, a co-operator with Dr Severino Antinori of Rome. Dr Zavos said his work was going well but denied that he wanted to create doppelgängers of famous people or of the deceased. He said: "We are interested in assisting a father who does not have the sperm to have a biological child of his own." [Reuters on Yahoo!, 5 October ] A pregnant woman with cancer refused strong painkilling drugs because they could have harmed her unborn child. Mrs Cheryl Anderson, 32, died nine hours after Taylor, her daughter, was delivered by caesarian section in Newport, Wales. Mrs Anderson was in agony yet declined even to take the full dose of paracetamol, also for the baby's sake. Though too weak to hold Taylor, her mother was shown a photograph of the baby shortly before she passed away. [Metro, 8 October]

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