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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 2 December 2002

2 December 2002

2 December 2002 Two English primary care trusts have withdrawn permission from Tesco supermarkets to provide the abortifacient morning-after pill free of charge because Tesco has decided not to provide the drug to under-16s. It is reported that the Central Cheshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) has followed the decision of the PCT in Bury, Greater Manchester, to rescind a so-called patient group direction which had allowed Tesco pharmacies to provide the drug to women without the usual £20 charge. Four Tesco stores in central Cheshire had been operating the scheme, but the PCT decided that Tesco's refusal to include under-16s in the scheme constituted a breach of its agreement with the supermarket chain. Tesco decided earlier this year to discontinue its participation in government-backed schemes to provide the morning-after pill to under-16s in response to a concerted campaign by pro-lifers. [The Sentinel, 27 November ] A court has heard that an audit of British IVF clinics found that five of them had fewer or more human embryos in storage than could be accounted for. In her evidence in the trial of Paul Fielding, an embryologist accused of faking embryo implants, Dr Christine O'Toole of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) revealed that five out of 114 IVF centres had been found to have the wrong number of embryos in storage and that, in one clinic, three embryos were found by chance in ice at the bottom of a storage tank. Dr O'Toole said that the audit had been carried out in late 2000, and that sanctions had been taken against the five un-named clinics where anomalies were identified. [BBC News online, 29 November ] A pregnant 12-year-old has explained why she decided to keep her child in an interview to be screened tonight on British national television. Amy Crowhurst told ITV1's Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme that she decided against an abortion when she saw her unborn baby's image during an ultrasound scan. Amy, who became pregnant following a brief encounter at a youth club, will be helped by her mother to bring up the child. Amy's story has also been covered in many national and local newspapers across the UK. [Scotsman, 2 December ] The government of Slovakia is considering a proposal to increase the amount women have to pay for an abortion by nearly 100%. Medical experts have recommended a rise in the amount charged for an abortion from Sk3,000 (£46) to Sk5,500 (£84) which would more accurately reflect the financial cost of the procedure. The price of an abortion in Slovakia has remained the same for 10 years, during which time the costs have rocketed while the number of women requesting an abortion has fallen by 50%. Slovakia's abortion rate of about 44 abortions for every 100 births remains significantly higher than the average rate in western Europe and the US. [The Slovak Spectator, 2 December ] The new Republican majority leader of the US Senate has announced that up to five anti-abortion bills will be put before congress before the end of next year. Senator Trent Lott said that the measures would include a ban on partial-birth abortions, a law granting legal status to unborn children and a law making it a crime to assist a minor to have an abortion without the knowledge of the minor's parents. [Daily Telegraph online, 1 December]

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