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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 22 April 2002

22 April 2002

22 April 2002 The Australian high court has rejected a legal bid to prevent single women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. A suit brought by the country's Catholic bishops' conference and supported by John Howard, the Australian prime minister, had aimed to bar Leesa Meldrum, a 40-year-old single woman in Victoria, from conceiving a child through IVF [see news digest for 3 May 2001 ]. Ms Meldrum successfully challenged a state law preventing single women from undergoing IVF treatment two years ago. The panel of seven high court judges ruled that the case was beyond its jurisdiction. [Zenit, 19 April ] IVF involves a greatly disproportionate risk to the lives of unborn children. One expert (Dr E L Billings, 1999) has suggested that only 1.7 percent of conceptions generated by IVF treatment result in a live birth. The supreme court of Canada has reiterated an earlier decision that there is no right to assisted suicide. The justices dismissed without comment a case brought by Mr James Wakeford, who claimed that laws against assisted suicide infringed his constitutional rights. The supreme court threw out a similar case in 1993 involving a lady, Sue Rodriguez, who requested that a lethal dose of drugs be administered to her, although Mr Wakeford's lawyers argued that his case should be distinguished from the earlier case because he was able to self-administer the drugs. [LifeSite, 19 April ] Two scientists based in the United States have drawn attention to the high incidence of abortion, suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among child prostitutes. Writing in The Lancet medical journal, Dr Barry Levy of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and Brian Willis of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta called for a co-ordinated global campaign against child prostitution. They estimated that one million prostituted girls had abortions each year. [Reuters, via Yahoo! News, 19 April ] The governor of Kansas has vetoed a bill which would have authorised the use of car number plates bearing the slogan "Choose Life". Proceeds from the sale of the plates would have gone to a pro-life group to finance adoption initiatives. Governor Bill Graves said that vehicle tags should not be used for making political statements. [The Baltimore Sun, 20 April ] A couple in Ohio have filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a doctor who allegedly aborted their unborn baby because he wrongly believed that the child was already dead. A pathologist later determined that the baby was "viable" and healthy prior to the abortion. Christine and Michael Sickler also allege that the Dr Barry Fish botched the abortion so that Mrs Sickler delivered "a well-formed fetus at home, intact except for a missing right arm" three weeks later. [Akron Beacon Journal, 21 April; via Pro-Life Infonet ]

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