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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 8 December 2003

8 December 2003

8 December 2003 The government of the Indian state of Kerala is investigating allegations of mass sterilisation programmes against tribal minorities by local health authorities. Media reports claim that over 1000 tribal people were sterilised earlier in the year, having been promised financial rewards that were never granted by officials struggling to meet quotas. Human rights organisations claim that the tribal people were exploited because many were barely literate and did not understand what they were being offered when they agreed to surgery. [EWTN, 4 December ] The Organisation for Flemish GPs has stated that many doctors remain unfamiliar or uncomfortable with Belgian euthanasia law, Expatica reports. In a statement by the organisation, it was claimed that the change in law 'demands a change in attitude from many doctors.' [Expatica, 5 December ] A Maltese court has ordered that a Russian woman should not be deported as an illegal immigrant after her partner filed an application claiming that she intended to have an abortion in Russia. Anthony Borg stated in the application that this would violate the child's right to life under the Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights and his right to freedom of family life. [The Times of Malta, 5 December ] The MP who dismissed as 'pure scaremongering' a warning that changes in UK abortion law would lead to babies with cleft palate being aborted, has said that the law 'needs to be re-examined.' During the parliamentary debate in 1990 about amending the abortion act, John Finnis, professor of law and legal philosophy at University College Oxford and Dr John Keown, then a lecturer in law at the University of Leicester, circulated a paper warning that "it will be lawful to destroy it [the unborn child] during birth for any reason at all, from harelip to hair colour." Frank Doran dismissed the suggestion, as did Sir David Steele, who described it as 'a gross calumny on the medical profession' and Harriet Harman, the solicitor general, who said that the lawyers should be 'reported to the Law Society or to the Bar Council.' [The Telegraph, 7 December , John Finnis' response to the Jepson case can be linked to here ] A woman has taken her case to the European court of human rights after a doctor mistook her for another patient and aborted her baby six months into the pregnancy. The error occurred at a French hospital when Thi-Nho Vo went to hospital for a medical examination and was mistaken for a Thanh Van Vo who was due to have an IUD removed. The doctor concerned was convicted of unintentional homicide but was later acquitted. Mrs Vo is to argue that her unborn child had a right to life under the European convention on human rights. The UK Family Planning Association and the New York Centre for Reproductive Rights have filed briefs arguing against Mrs Vo's case. [The Guardian, 8 December ] A prominent New York abortionist has admitted being troubled by a recurring nightmare of an unborn child trying to cling to the walls of the uterus by its fingernails. In an article in the Boston Phoenix on William Rashbaum, the abortion procedure is described as 'gruesome' and includes an account of an intern's distress after she witnessed the abortion of twins. [Lifesite, 5 December ] A US abortionist convicted of 22 counts of sexual abuse has appealed the verdict. Brian Finkel, who performs up to 20% of abortions in Arizona and has performed more than 20 thousand during his career, is due to be sentenced on January 2. [Lifenews, 4 December ] The newly-appointed archbishop of St Louis has written to Catholic pro-abortion politicians warning them that their actions put them outside the Catholic communion. Senator Julie Lassa who has a pro-abortion voting record responded to the letter, stating: "I appreciate that the bishop has expressed his opinion and I will take that into consideration, but I have to consider what's in the best interest of my constituents... But I can't let my religion take precedence over my duties as a legislator." [Lifesite, 4 December ] A Scottish sex education programme costing £3 million has been criticised after the teenage pregnancy rate was found to have risen. The scheme being piloted in the Lothians area, which could be launched across the country, involved the distribution of condoms in schools and the morning after pill at clinics. However, whilst pregnancy rates have dropped across Scotland, they have risen by 10% in the Lothians, leading critics of the scheme to call for it to be scrapped. [Netdoctor, 5 December ]

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