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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 18 June 2002

18 June 2002

18 June 2002 The abortifacient morning-after pill is to be supplied free of charge to children in Exeter, south-west England. The scheme, which is being organised by the North and East Devon NHS authority in conjunction with Devon County Council, involves the provision of morning-after pills from pharmacists and school nurses to teenagers, including those under 16, without the knowledge or consent of parents. £75,000 of public money will be spent on the scheme, which is intended to combat Exeter's increasing teenage pregnancy rate. [Express and Echo, 17 June ] There is no proof that the easy availability of so-called emergency contraception reduces the teenage pregnancy rate; indeed, it may encourage sexually irresponsible behaviour and abuse. Tens of thousands of unborn children are killed by the morning-after pill in the UK each year. The chief executive of Tesco has refused to make any comments on the controversy surrounding the provision of abortifacient morning-after pills from Tesco supermarkets. A spokesman for Sir Terry Leahy, who is a Catholic, said that he had no plans either to make a statement or to take any action on the subject. Meanwhile, a community of Franciscan friars in Woodford Green, Essex, have sold their investment of £50,000 in Tesco shares in protest at the supermarket chain's involvement in the provision of abortion-inducing drugs. [The Universe, 16 June] It is reported that the one millionth baby conceived by in vitro fertilisation (IVF) has been born. The milestone was revealed during events to mark World Infertility Month in New Zealand. A spokesman for SPUC commented: "The first IVF child to be born was Louise Brown in 1978, since when tens of millions of IVF babies have perished in a process which puts early unborn lives at an enormously disproportionate risk of death. 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. Millions of IVF babies who are kept in cold storage around the world are now seen by many as convenient objects for destructive stem cell research. The advent of IVF has led to a commodification of human life to a quite horrifying extent." [LifeSite, 17 June ; SPUC, 18 June]

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