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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 28 October 2002

28 October 2002

28 October 2002 Police in England are to investigate an allegation of unlawful killing against a doctor who performed a late-term abortion on a baby with a harelip. Joanna Jepson, a 26-year-old Cambridge student who is studying to join the clergy of the Church of England, made the complaint after official statistics revealed that a late-term abortion was performed on the basis of a harelip. The British Abortion Act, as amended in 1990, allows abortion up to birth when two doctors believe that an unborn child "would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped". Ms Jepson, who herself underwent corrective surgery for a congenital jaw abnormality, said: "This is eugenics. I am not prepared to sit back and let it happen. I want people to know that this is the way society is going, and we need to do something about it." [Sunday Times, 27 October; SPUC] A number of unborn babies have been killed after they were involved in a blunder at an IVF clinic in London. The mix-up happened after one woman produced a number of IVF embryos with the intention that only the 'best quality' ones would be used. However, doctors transferred the 'poorer quality' embryos into her womb instead, and transferred the 'higher quality' embryos into a second woman by mistake. To compound the error still further, the second woman's embryos were then erroneously transferred into a third woman. Two of the women then underwent a medical procedure to "flush out" the embryos, and were also given drugs to prevent implantation. The mix-up happened in April at the Diana, Princess of Wales, Centre for Reproductive Medicine at St George's hospital, Tooting, but it was only confirmed today. [BBC News online, 28 October ] The Knights of Columbus, America's largest lay Catholic organisation, has urged all US Catholics to vote for pro-life candidates in the elections on 5 November. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson urged Catholic voters to make pro-life issues the first priority because: "Respect for and protection of all human life, including the most vulnerable among us, is not just one value among others. It is the standard by which we measure all other values." [Zenit, 25 October ] Thailand's ministry of public health has tightened controls on two stomach ulcer drugs after concerns were raised that they were being used by teenagers to procure abortions. Dinoprostone and sulprostone have been available from drugstores but from next February they will only be provided in hospitals. Supply of misoprostol, another stomach ulcer drug which can be used to procure abortions [and which is often used in conjunction with RU-486], was restricted by the ministry earlier this year. [Bangkok Post, 28 October ]

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