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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 5 August 2003

5 August 2003

5 August 2003 Researchers at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire have found that if a pregnant woman reacts badly to environmental toxins, it could cause her unborn child to develop asthma. Asthma can be a genetic condition but environment is already known to be a factor in its development. [BBC, 4 August ] A bill has been put before the California legislature that would require the state to create an anonymous registry of human embryos for research purposes. Groups supporting the registry include Planned Parenthood, Status of Women and the National Organisation of Women. Camille Giglio, director of the California Right to Life Committee, said of the proposed legislation: "It has all the earmarks of a state-run 'spare parts department' for human beings, once again holding out false hopes to those afflicted with health problems." [LifeNews.com, 2 August ] A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has shown that pregnant women carrying bacterial vaginosis are more than twice as likely to give birth before 37 weeks. The risk of premature birth increased the earlier in the pregnancy that the infection was present. Dr Harald Leitich and his team from the University of Vienna acknowledged that screening for bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy remains controversial but urged more attention to be given to the condition. [Reuters, 4 August ] A London GP has criticised the government for ignoring the success of abstinence programmes in cutting infection and pregnancy rates among teenagers. Dr Trevor Stammers wrote: "In the UK, sexual activity is one area in which encouraging abstinence in the under 16s is regarded as an unreasonable goal. We expect our children to abstain from stealing, bullying and a host of other activities but often imply that it is less important where sexual activity is concerned." Abstinence programmes in the US have helped to decrease the number of teenage pregnancies by equipping young people with skills such as self-worth, assertiveness and arguments for postponing sexual activity. [Yorkshire Post, 5 August ]

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