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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 8 February 2002

8 February 2002

8 February 2002 The director of an abortion clinic in Britain's second largest city has admitted that "there are potential health risks with any abortion operation." Tracey Allsopp, the manager of Birmingham's Calthorpe Clinic, also admitted that women made repeat visits to her clinic for abortions despite being given advice on contraception by the clinic. SPUC general secretary Paul Tully commented: "These admissions confirm the concerns that we have been raising for decades, namely that abortion is medically unsafe and that the Abortion Act would be circumvented to provide abortion as a form of birth control. At the very least, the Abortion Act must be tightened to stop this flouting of the law." [Sunday Mercury, 12 February] Latest financial accounts for Comic Relief, the high-profile British charity which runs the Red Nose Day appeal, show that, in the 12 months to June 2000, £51,953 was paid to Marie Stopes International, the abortion provider, for projects in Africa. John Smeaton, SPUC national director, commented: "Anyone with a conscience would not support Comic Relief if they knew their money was being used to kill unborn children. Any idea that some funds [donated to Comic Relief] are completely separate from the abortion aspect is completely misguided and completely naïve." [Catholic Herald, 8 February] A leading British pro-life group has predicted that a British parliamentary committee will produce "relentlessly biased" recommendations on stem cell research. Josephine Quintavalle, spokesman for Comment on Reproductive Ethics, condemned an inquiry by the House of Lords select committee on stem cell research as "an exercise in futility, aimed at reassuring the public that every due consideration had been taken on board." Mrs Quintavalle also condemned the composition of the committee, saying: "My contention is that if you get 26 people knee-deep in embryonic stem cell research then you are not going to get an objective view." [Catholic Herald, 8 February]. A conference of doctors and surgeons has urged that human embryos be afforded the same rights as other patients. In The Embryo As Patient, a joint manifesto, 200 doctors and surgeons at the conference held at Rome's La Sapienza university described the human embryo as "a totally human individual" and promised "to foster interdisciplinary research so that the embryo will be known and welcomed in its inviolable dignity." Attending the conference, Professor Domenico Arduini, gynaecologist of the public University of Tor Vergata, commented: "It is interesting to note that, in treating the embryo as a patient, the woman also receives considerable benefits." [Zenit , 4 February]. A study published in the Lancet British medical journal has found that children conceived through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques were about three times more likely to have cerebral palsy than naturally-conceived children. Doctors in Sweden compared the incidence rate of neurological problems in 5,680 children born after IVF and 11,360 children conceived naturally. Dr Bo Stromberg of Uppsala University Children's Hospital, who led the study, said that the phenomenon was largely due to health problems associated with multiple pregnancies and recommended that only one embryo should be implanted in the mother's womb. [Ananova , 8 February] Chinese police are investigating the dumping of six dead foetuses and two dead new-born babies in a drain in eastern China's Anhui province. It is believed that the bodies came from a nearby hospital. [Ananova , 25 January] The Chinese government's coercive one-child policy, supported by British-funded population control organisations, involves forced abortions and infanticide.

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