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News, 27 September 2001

27 September 2001

27 September 2001 The government of Estonia has proposed legislation to allow under-age girls to obtain abortions without parental consent. The social ministry explained that the proposal was based on an assumption that a girl who was capable of becoming pregnant would also be capable of making her own decisions. The amendment will now be put before the Estonian parliament. [AFP, 25 September; via Pro-Life E-News] In 1996, 56 percent of known pregnancies in Estonia were ended by abortion. Poland's new left-wing government confirmed yesterday that it intends to liberalise the country's abortion law. The largest bloc of seats in last Sunday's general election was won by the ex-communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) in coalition with the smaller Labour Union party (UP). Marek Pol, leader of the Labour Union party, said: "We believe abortions should be allowed when the woman faces hardship." Reports suggest that any vote on abortion in the Polish parliament could be very close because the SLD-UP coalition is about 10 seats short of an overall majority and most other parties generally oppose abortion. [Reuters, 26 September; via Pro-Life Infonet ] The European Union's commissioner for research has stressed that no EU research programmes will involve the creation of human embryos for research purposes. Addressing experts attending a meeting in Brussels organised by the European Commission's directorate general for research, Philippe Busquin said: "I want to make clear that European research programmes do not and will not fund research on embryonic stem cells that involves the creation of an embryo for research purposes." However, participants at the meeting appear to have agreed that stem cell research should continue on aborted foetuses and on IVF embryos created for fertility treatment but who are surplus to requirements. [ENS, 16 September ] A 14-year-old girl who suffered brain damage at birth after medical staff had failed to remove her mother's intra-uterine device has been awarded 2.62 million pounds in compensation. Caterina Ziccardi was left with cerebral palsy after the blunder at the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital in Aylesbury, England. [Ananova, 25 September] The IUD, or coil, is thought to work primarily by preventing successful implantation of an unborn child in his or her mother's womb.

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