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News, 20 March 2003

20 March 2003

20 March 2003 A doctor who inflicted serious injuries on a woman in the course of a botched abortion has been found guilty of serious professional misconduct by Britain's General Medical Council. However, Dr Andrew Gbinigie, a consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician, has not been struck off the medical register and will be allowed to continue to perform both private and publicly funded NHS abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy without supervision. Dr Gbinigie mistakenly removed a woman's right ovary, fallopian tube and part of her bowel during an attempted abortion on his first day's work at a private clinic in Birmingham in November 2000. [BBC News online, 20 March ; also see digest for 4 March ] The Canadian federal health minister has reportedly admitted that government legislation on assisted human reproduction currently being debated in parliament would explicitly authorise the creation of human beings through IVF for the purpose of experimentation. Health minister Ann McLellan also tried to counter claims that the legislation would not prohibit human cloning or the creation of hybrids, but pro-lifers pointed out that she failed to provide any evidence for this. A number of pro-life amendments to the bill are expected to be voted on soon. [LifeSite, 19 March ] A member of South Africa's parliament has objected to the way in which the media covered the case of a mother who allegedly abandoned her premature baby after a failed abortion attempt [see digest for 11 March ]. The baby, who was born four months premature, was considered legally viable but later died in hospital and his mother has been charged with murder. Steve Swart MP, a member of the African Christian Democratic Party in the National Assembly, told a newspaper that he was "appalled at the callous tone" of its report on the story, which was "framed in a manner evoking sympathy for the mother who is being charged with murder [while] no consideration [was] given to the baby who has since died". Mr Swart said that he was disgusted by the way in which second trimester babies who were born alive in South Africa were left to die. [The Star (South Africa), 18 March ] Concerns have been raised in the Dominican Republic about widespread use of cheap ulcer medication to procure illegal abortions. The Dominican Pharmacy Owners' Association has warned that some pharmacies are selling as many doses of the ulcer drug Cyotec as cold remedies or aspirin. Pro-lifers are campaigning to have Cyotec withdrawn from sale, and the Catholic Church has stated that it "radically condemns any sort of abortion". In some countries with liberal abortion laws, Cyotec is used to complete abortions performed with RU-486, but abortion is forbidden in the Dominican Republic except to save a mother's life. [AP, via Yahoo! News, 20 March ; SPUC] The distributor of the Plan B morning-after pill in the US has announced that it will apply later this month for the drug to be made available over-the-counter without prescription across the country. Dr Sharon Camp, chief executive of Women's Capital Corp., also estimated that 35% of drugstores across the country now stocked a version of the morning-after pill and predicted that policy changes would lead to many more women using the drug in the future. [New York Times, via Contra Costa Times, 16 March ]

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