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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 22 July 2003

22 July 2003

22 July 2003 The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) wants the government to allow women to perform abortions at home using drugs. Women must currently attend a clinic to take both mifepristone to detach the baby from the womb and misprostol to expel him or her. Ms Ann Furedi, BPAS chief executive, says the procedure is safe and claims being at home for the abortion would make women feel more at ease. Mr Patrick Cusworth of the Life organisation warned of psychological damage to mothers, including those who were alone when they caused a miscarriage. [Discovery Health, 22 July ] A one-month-old British child who was chosen when an embryo to provide therapeutic material for his brother has been found to be of the right tissue-type. Jamie Whitaker's parents, from Derbyshire, went to Chicago for embryo selection because it was not allowed in Britain. Charlie, Jamie's brother, has the rare diamond blackfan anaemia which may be treated with stem cells from the baby's umbilical cord. [BBC, 21 July , and see SPUC news summary, 19 June ] Embryos who were not of the right tissue-type will have been discarded or, possibly, frozen or used for experiments. The chaplain to a cancer hospice in Scotland has warned that the Patient (Assisted Dying) Bill could put pressure on patients to choose euthanasia and would give doctors inappropriate powers. Rev David Mitchell of the Marie Curie hospice, Glasgow, was writing in the Church of Scotland's Life and Work magazine and described the "holistic care" which hospices gave. [Evening Times, 18 July ] The bill, sponsored by Lord Joffe, is still formally in the House of Lords but is unlikely to make progress. Father Anthony Fisher OP, president of SPUC and foundation director and professor of bioethics and moral theology at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Melbourne, Australia, has been appointed an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese of Sydney. Fr Fisher will be consecrated on 3 September at St Mary's cathedral. [Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, 16 July ]

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