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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 10 March 2003

10 March 2003

10 March 2003 A neurology professor at Oxford university, England, has suggested that unborn babies are conscious before 24 weeks' gestation, the time-limit for some types of abortion under British law. Baroness Greenfield of Otmoor, director of the Royal Institution, questioned the assumption that the unborn were unconscious. She pointed out how British home office (interior ministry) law had recognised octopuses and shellfish as sentient and counselled caution in the matter of foetal sentience. Neurologists told an informal newspaper survey last year that they thought foetuses could feel pain before 24 weeks. [Telegraph, 10 March ] The structures needed to sense and feel pain are present and working in the unborn child before 10 weeks' gestation. [Peter McCullagh MD DPhil MRCP, Fetal Sentience, All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group] Women in Britain expecting twins or triplets after fertility treatment are aborting some of the children. The customary reason given for destroying some 50 such babies by potassium chloride injection in 2001 was the burden of raising them. Disabled and able-bodied children were aborted. Once killed, the child is left in the womb where the other child or children continue to grow. Professor Lord Winston, the fertility expert, criticised the practice of implanting multiple embryos and "forcing" patients to consider aborting some children in pregnancies. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is reported as intending to limit the number of embryos implanted to two. [Times, 9 March ] Testimonials from doctors and women have provided new evidence of forced abortion in China. Mr Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, presented the material to a conference in Washington, DC, last week. A doctor had told observers that, if a baby survived attempts at abortion by poisoning, it was drowned. Its mouth would be covered so that its crying would not upset the mother. Representative Christopher Smith of New Jersey told the conference that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was helping a dictatorship wage a war on women and the unborn which was a crime against humanity. Most speakers praised the US government for cutting $34 million in aid to UNFPA. [Cybercast, 7 March ] Sweden has increased its funding for the UNFPA by nine percent. Announcing a $2.4 million grant for this year, Mr Jan O Karlsson, migration and aid minister, obliquely criticised America. [LifeSite, 7 March ] Doctors in Michigan have used stem cells from a young man's blood to treat damage caused by a heart attack. Medics at William Beaumont Hospital stimulated 16-year-old Mr Dmitri Bonnville's bone-marrow and injected the resulting cells into an artery supplying his heart. The heart's efficiency increased in a few days, though it will be some weeks before the outcome is known. [Scotsman, 7 March ] The Maltese people have voted to join the European Union. Nearly 54% voted "yes" in a referendum. [Guardian, 10 March ] Pro-life groups, including SPUC, warned that the protocol on abortion in Malta's EU accession treaty would not prevent Maltese taxpayers from funding abortions in other countries through the EU's general budget. [SPUC, 3 March ] The US senate is this week expected to debate Senator Rick Santorum's bill to ban partial-birth abortion. President Clinton vetoed two such measures. [Catholic World News, 7 March ] Counsellors are being trained in Singapore to help women who have had abortions. As part of the Hope Alive programme, Dr Philip Ney, a Canadian psychiatrist, recently gave a course to clergy, nuns and social workers who will take an examination before starting work later this year. A study of 170,000 Californian women found that abortion increased the likelihood of suicide threefold. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry has suggested that children of women who have had an abortion are more likely to be neglected and behave badly. [Straits Times, 10 March ] SPUC's charitable trust supports women who have had abortions through its British Victims of Abortion organisation.

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