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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 4 September 2001

4 September 2001

4 September 2001 The RU-486 abortion drug has been approved for use in New Zealand. The country's ministry of health has announced that the drug, known as Mifegyne, can now be prescribed by doctors licensed to perform abortions. RU-486 was first approved in France more than 10 years ago and is now in use in more than 20 countries, including the UK and USA. [One News, 30 August ] Northern Ireland's leading pro-life organisation is launching a new booklet to defend the jurisdiction's protection of the unborn. SPUC Northern Ireland will launch Affirming a Pro-Life Culture in Northern Ireland on Thursday in Belfast. The publication comprehensively presents the truth about abortion, and its preface has been signed by both Unionist and Nationalist members of the Northern Ireland assembly. Mrs Betty Gibson, chairman of SPUC Northern Ireland, said: "The protection of unborn human life in Northern Ireland is something precious and worth defending. Whatever our views on other political or religious issues, all sections of Northern Ireland's population can come together on the fundamental issue of the value of unborn human life. This booklet is an expression of that unity, as well as an indication of our concern." [cf. SPUC media release ] The interior minister of the African nation of Guinea Bissau has been sacked by the president after allegedly forcing a young woman with whom he had had an affair to have an abortion. Young people demonstrated in the capital last month against Mr Artur Sanha, the minister, who denies any knowledge of the woman. [BBC News online, 29 August ] British researchers have suggested that a pregnant woman's mental state can affect the long-term behaviour of her unborn child. A team led by Professor Vivette Glover of Imperial College, London, found that extreme anxiety during the last three months of pregnancy doubled the chances of a child's developing behavioural problems such as hyperactivity and inattention from one in 20 to one in 10. Professor Glover advised pregnant women: "If you're feeling very anxious, take time out." [BBC News online, 31 August ] An American trade union has backed four women who claim that they were pressured into having abortions by the Washington D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. The women claim that their employer made it clear to them that if they became pregnant, they would have to have an abortion to keep their job. Federal and city law prohibit discrimination against pregnant women. [The Washington Times, 31 August ] Police in Thailand have charged an 18-year-old student with undergoing an abortion with the intent of killing her unborn child. The student, who was 8 months pregnant, was transferred to a hospital after the alleged procedure because she was bleeding heavily. Police are continuing their investigations with a view to prosecuting others involved in the abortion. The Thai government is presently considering whether to legalise abortion in some cases. [The Nation, 4 September ]

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