News, 5 September 2002
5 September 2002
5 September 2002 A minister in Northern Ireland's executive has praised the Brook organisation at a celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of a Brook advisory clinic in Belfast. Sinn Féin's Bairbre de Brún, the pro-abortion minister for health, social services and public safety, said that she was grateful to the staff and management of Brook "for their excellent work in providing user-friendly sexual health services for young people". Betty Gibson, chairman of SPUC Northern Ireland, said: "Brook provides abortifacient morning-after pills and offers advice on abortion at its Belfast clinic, despite the fact that abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland and a large majority of the population are pro-life. Furthermore, Brook's activities in Britain and in Belfast have been a complete failure and a waste of tax-payers' money because rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections have rocketed." [NI Executive press release, 4 September ; SPUC Northern Ireland, 5 September] A Scottish doctor who recovered from a coma is suing the hospital where medical staff allegedly suggested that her life support should be removed. Dr Fiona Smith, a general practitioner, claims that a consultant at Dundee Royal Infirmary told her family that she was in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) and that they should prepare themselves to make a difficult decision. Dr Smith's condition improved immediately after she was moved to St Mary's Hospital in Lanark, run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, and she emerged from the coma three weeks later. Dr Smith may also consider mounting a legal challenge to the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act, a piece of Scottish legislation which pro-lifers fear could be used to pave the way for euthanasia. [The Scotsman, 5 September ] The Roman Catholic bishops of 25 Latin American countries have expressed concern that their governments are being pressured by international organisations to legalise abortion. At the end of their three-day conference in the Dominican Republic, the bishops warned that the United Nations, the European Union and international non-governmental organisations were putting South American countries under pressure to legislate against life and the family. The conference's final declaration, which is expected to reaffirm Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life, will be published by the Vatican at a later date. [AP, via Yahoo! News and Northern Light, 5 September ] Public health officials in Bristol, western England, have complained that they will be unable to provide enough free early abortions on the National Health Service this year due to a lack of funds. Last year the Avon Health Authority could only afford to pay for 53% of abortions in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, while the remaining 47% were either delayed or performed privately. A spokesman for the Bristol North Primary Care Trust, which assumed the role of the health authority in April, has said that the situation will be little different this year. Next year, all NHS primary care trusts will be obliged to offer free abortions within three weeks of an initial request, and £1 million has been set aside to help them meet this target. [Bristol Evening Post, 3 September ] A group of pro-abortion doctors in the Irish Republic have urged the country's Medical Council to allow them to refer women for abortions. Doctors for Choice, which represents 100 Irish medics, also urged the Council to stop regarding abortion as professional misconduct. The calls were made in a submission to the Medical Council, which is currently conducting a review of its code of ethics. [Irish Independent, 5 September] The right to life of unborn babies is constitutionally protected from the moment of conception in the Republic of Ireland.