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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 24 May 2002

24 May 2002

24 May 2002 Provisional figures have indicated that about 186,200 unborn children were killed under the terms of the British Abortion Act in England and Wales last year. The provisional total published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics, which takes into account incomplete forms and may be revised, is the third highest ever and represents an increase of 0.4% on 2000. Of the total number of abortions performed in England and Wales, about 176,000 were performed on residents. The abortion rate was 17 abortions per 1,000 resident women aged between 15 and 44. 76% of abortions were funded by the National Health Service, up from 74% in 2000. According to the provisional statistics, 6,625 women with addresses in the Irish Republic obtained abortions in England and Wales last year, the highest Irish total ever. [Media release, Office for National Statistics, 23 May ; Irish Independent, 24 May ] Nine days before the people of Switzerland vote in a referendum on whether to legalise abortion, an opinion poll has suggested that they are likely to vote decisively in favour. According to the poll conducted for a Swiss television station, 63% are in favour of the proposal to legalise abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy, while only 24% are against. [Bloomberg, 24 May] Abortion is already widely tolerated in Switzerland. The RU-486 abortion drug is being promoted in South Africa. The drug was approved by the country's Medicines Control Council last year and a pro-abortion organisation called the Women's Health Project (WHP) now plans to provide it at five locations around the country from the end of September. The WHP, which advises the South African department of health, is asking the government to become involved in publicising and providing the drug. Doctors have been obliged to provide abortion on request up to the 12th week of pregnancy in South Africa since 1996. [, 23 May; via Northern Light ] Members of the Canadian house of commons have this week been debating government legislation on assisted reproduction and embryo research. The second reading debate on the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill has seen a number of pro-life speeches, such as by Jason Kenney who insisted that it was always "unethical to manipulate and destroy human embryos for utilitarian purposes". Once the bill has been granted a second reading, it will be referred to a parliamentary committee for further scrutiny. [LifeSite, 23 May ; Canadian Hansard ] A majority of Americans now believe that abortion is "morally wrong", according to a nationwide opinion poll. The poll conducted by Gallup found that 53% of the population believed that abortion was "morally wrong", up from 45% last year. Only 38% of respondents thought that abortion was "morally acceptable". While 90% of respondents opposed human cloning, only 52% said that embryonic stem cell research was morally incorrect. However, the respondents were not told that such research entails the destruction of a unique human being. Another poll conducted last month found that 68% of Americans supported President Bush's opposition to all human cloning, including so-called therapeutic purposes. [Pro-Life Infonet , 22 May] An unborn child has foiled an attempted murder in the United States. Doctors believe that, when a masked gunman opened fire on Angelique McKinney in Chicago, Illinois, her unborn baby of 30 weeks' gestation shielded her vital organs from the bullets. The baby, named Ariel, suffered bullet wounds but survived and was born by Caesarean section last Sunday. [LifeSite, 23 May ]

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