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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 25 April 2003

25 April 2003

25 April 2003 Two pro-life candidates standing in the forthcoming elections to the Welsh national assembly were arrested and charged with a public order offence yesterday for showing a picture of an aborted 21-week-old foetus. Fiona Pinto and Joseph Biddulph, who are standing for the ProLife Party in the South Wales East region, were arrested in Newport town centre under the Public Order Act after passers by complained that the picture was causing distress. They were detained for three hours and have been ordered to appear before Newport magistrates' court on 1 May - the day of the election. Ms Pinto, aged 23, commented: "It was a busy street and there were a couple of people who complained and said we shouldn't be showing it because it's disgusting. But that's the point, and that's what we are opposed to." A spokesman for the ProLife Party said: "...political candidates during an election campaign have been taken into custody for showing the reality of what happens to the unborn child during an abortion operation, a procedure funded by the taxpayers of this country. Such political censorship is normally associated with ruthless totalitarian regimes, not a country claiming to be one of the most democratic." [South Wales Argus, 25 April] 13,500 unborn children were killed by abortion in Norway last year, according to official statistics. A total of 15,000 abortions were requested, although 1,500 of them did not proceed. 2,200 abortions were performed on 15 to 19-year-olds, 250 fewer than last year and the lowest number since the current abortion law came into effect in 1979. Oslo, the capital city, saw the highest abortion rate in the country at 17 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 49. [Dagbladet, 25 April ] Abortion is available on request in Norway during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, after which it requires the approval of two doctors. The governing coalition in Slovakia has been weakened by a disagreement over reforms to the country's abortion law. The Christian Democrats are pushing for tighter controls on abortion, but the New Citizen's Alliance (ANO) supports the current law under which abortions are allowed up to 12 weeks' gestation in most cases and up to 24 weeks' gestation for genetic reasons. The ANO has now joined the opposition in opposing a government bill to reform the abortion law, and has also signalled its intention to vote with the opposition on other matters as well where it sees fit. [Slovak Spectator International Weekly, 21-27 April ] Researchers have suggested that women who are on a diet immediately before conceiving a child are more likely to give birth prematurely. Scientists from Canada, New Zealand and Australia, who conducted their research on sheep, found that even modest underfeeding around the time of conception led to premature births, which is the biggest cause of illness and death among newborn babies. [BBC News online, 25 April ] The state legislature of Hawaii has passed a bill to oblige hospitals to inform patients who claim to be victims of sexual assault about the abortifacient morning-after pill, and to provide the drug if requested. The measure, which had already been approved by the House of Representatives, was passed in the Senate yesterday by 18 votes to 6 and will now go to the governor. The law will apply to all hospitals, including those run by religious groups. A $5,000 fine will be levied for a first offence, and subsequent violations could result in the suspension or revocation of medical licences. [The Honolulu Advertiser, 25 April ]

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