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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 24 October 2002

24 October 2002

24 October 2002 The state government of Kano in Nigeria has announced a crackdown on private hospitals and clinics which perform illegal abortions. A task force has been established to monitor the activities of private facilities and the government intends to prosecute those found to have performed unauthorised abortions and other surgical procedures. [, 23 October; via Northern Light ] Abortion is illegal in Nigeria in every case apart from to save the life of the mother. Britain's national health service provided 201,000 courses of the abortifacient morning-after pill at family planning clinics in the year 2001-02, according to official government statistics. This total represents a decrease of 15% from the previous year, but this is explained by the fact that the morning-after pill became available from pharmacists without a doctor's prescription at the start of 2001. [Department of Health, 23 October ] The Canadian province of Nova Scotia has announced that it will defend itself against a legal challenge to its policy on abortion funding [see yesterday's digest ]. Dr Henry Morgentaler, a prominent Canadian abortionist, is suing the province for its refusal to pay the total cost of abortions carried out in private clinics. However, Mr Jamie Muir, Nova Scotia's health minister, retorted that Dr Morgentaler was more interested in publicity than the rights of women. [Broadcast News, 23 October] The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has been criticised by pro-lifers for granting $65 million to the Population Council, the organisation which holds the US patent for RU-486. The money has been allotted to a programme for HIV and AIDS care in the developing world, but pro-lifers have noted that USAID has an agenda which encourages the provision of birth control. [LifeSite, 23 October ] Chinese experts on population control have claimed that their country has a lower abortion rate than the global average. Experts attending a conference in Kunming City, south west China, agreed that the Chinese population control policy did not depend on abortion but, rather, on contraceptive measures. However, Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute in the US, commented: "China's new law on population and family planning insures that coercive abortion will continue to be used against women pregnant outside the plan... It is the desire of the Chinese to maintain the support of UNFPA [the United Nations Population Fund] in order to hide forced abortion and sterilisation behind an international seal of approval, as it is important for China to use external media communications to distort its brutal one-child policy. Internally, however, the women of China receive a very different message. They continue to be the principal victims of the one-child policy." [Xinhua News Agency, 22 October ; PRI, 23 October]

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