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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 4 July 2002

4 July 2002

4 July 2002 The Roman Catholic bishops of Europe have criticised the European parliament for adopting the pro-abortion Van Lancker report yesterday. In a press statement, the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) expressed particular regret that the report had called for the legalisation of abortion and easier access to the morning-after pill. They stressed that life began at conception, and that abortion was wrong because "it denies the right of the unborn human being to life". The statement also pointed out that the European Union had no powers or responsibilities in these areas. [Zenit, 3 July ] The British government's support for destructive embryonic stem cell research has been reaffirmed in parliament. In a written answer to a question from Lord Alton in the House of Lords, Lord Hunt of Kings Head, a parliamentary under-secretary of state for health, wrote: "The government believe strongly that no single source of stem cells should be worked upon exclusively but wish to see research continue to move forward on adult, cord blood, foetal and embryonic stem cells." [House of Lords Hansard, 1 July ] The results of an American study have suggested that many women who undergo IVF fertility treatment would conceive naturally if they waited longer. A team led by Dr David Hudson at the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina found that, while the average wait to become pregnant increased with age, at least 50% of healthy women who failed to conceive in one year would conceive during the next, and that even among women in their 30s, fewer than one in 10 would fail to conceive within two years if their partner was under 40. At present, clinical infertility is diagnosed as an inability to become pregnant within one year, but Dr Hudson suggested that this should be reassessed. [BBC News online, 3 July ] IVF infertility treatment entails a hugely disproportionate risk to the lives of young humans. It is reported that Western Australia's children's court has given permission for 26 girls under the age of 16 to have abortions without the knowledge of their parents since 1998. Existing law stipulates that parents or guardians must be informed before an underage girl has an abortion, but the children's court can make an order to bypass this requirement. According to a report tabled in the state parliament, the court has approved all applications for such orders made to it since May 1998. [The West Australian, 3 July ] A major Canadian study has found that the health of newborn babies may be adversely affected by their mothers' abortion history. A study of 81,956 live births between 1997 and 2000 published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health concluded that "history of abortions" was a factor influencing the re-admission of new-borns to hospital. Many other studies have suggested a causal link between abortion and the premature births of subsequent babies. [LifeSite, 3 July ]

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