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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 29 May 2002

29 May 2002

29 May 2002 The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has criticised the United Kingdom for making little progress in combating teenage pregnancy. A UNICEF survey has found that the UK's teenage pregnancy rate is second only to that of the United States. A UNICEF report claims that significant reasons for Britain's high teenage pregnancy rate include inadequate sex education and the fact that "contraceptive advice and services" are only available "in a closed atmosphere of embarrassment and secrecy". [BBC News online, 29 May ] A spokesman for SPUC pointed out that UNICEF had a record of promoting abortion and abortifacient "contraceptive services" around the world, and rejected UNICEF's analysis of the reasons for Britain's high teenage pregnancy rate. An intensive sex education programme in British schools over the past 20 years and incentive payments to doctors for contraceptive advice have had no measurable impact in reducing the teenage pregnancy figures. Members of the European parliament's Commission for the Rights of Women and Equality of Opportunities will vote on a pro-abortion report on Monday (3 June). The report on sexual and reproductive rights has been written by Ms Anne E M Van Lancker, a Socialist member of the European parliament from Belgium. It begins by affirming that women have fundamental sexual and reproductive rights which require special protection, and then proposes that all European Union member states and candidate countries should ensure that abortion is legal, accessible and free to all women. It also proposes that sex education and access to contraception, including so-called emergency contraception, should be made available to adolescents without the knowledge of their parents. [Euro-Fam , 29 May] The cloning expert who directed a project in California aimed at creating human clones for research purposes [see news digest for 27 May ] has been challenged to explain why he has relocated to Britain. Josephine Quintavalle, director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, wants to know why Dr Roger Pedersen has moved from the University of California, San Francisco, to Cambridge University, England. She asked: "Is it because of the looser laws over here? I also want to know to what extent officials know what is actually going on in these research institutions." [CNSNews, 28 May ] The UK is the only country whose parliament has voted to authorise the creation and destruction of cloned human embryos for research purposes. It has emerged that Nancy Crick, the 69-year-old Australian euthanasia advocate who committed suicide last week, knew that doctors no longer believed she had bowel cancer at the time of her death. It had been reported that Mrs Crick was dying of cancer but Dr Philip Nitschke, the prominent pro-euthanasia campaigner, revealed this morning that Mrs Crick had been told repeatedly by doctors that she was no longer terminally ill months before she killed herself. [Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May ] A woman has been arrested in Colorado accused of illegally selling abortion-inducing drugs by mail order. Ms Lishan He, 46, was charged by police in Denver last week with distributing abortifacients and practising medicine without a licence. Police were alerted to the operation last year by a flier. When they responded to it, enclosing a money order, they received drugs similar to RU-486 10 days later by express mail. It is unknown how many doses had been sold already. [Denver Post, 24 May ]

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