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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 27 May 2003

27 May 2003

27 May 2003 Clare Short, the former British Secretary of State for International Development, has attacked SPUC for its claims about her support for abortion and population control. In a letter to the Catholic Times in response to SPUC's comment on her resignation from the British government (see SPUC release 12 May ], Ms Short said that SPUC's alleged suggestion that she or her former department "support imposed abortion or population control is defamatory" and "a complete lie". [Catholic Times, 25 May] SPUC political spokesman Anthony Ozimic commented: "We will be publishing a detailed account of our assessment of Ms Short's actions so that people can judge for themselves who is being truthful." An Argentine judge has banned the production and sale of oral so-called contraceptive pills and intra-uterine devices (IUDs) on the grounds that they are abortifacient. Cordoba province judge Cristina Garzon de Lascano ruled last Thursday that such drugs and devices were "abortive" and ordered the destruction of existing supplies. In February, Judge Garzon de Lascano blocked the implementation of the government's so-called 'sexual health and responsible procreation' programme because it would involve the provision of abortifacients (see digest for 13 February ). The Argentine health minister has described Thursday's ruling as "absurd" and predicted that it would lead to a "health catastrophe". [BBC, 24 May ] SPUC has pointed out that abortifacients are often unsafe for women and always unsafe for any newly-conceived embryonic children, whose lives are threatened by such drugs and devices (see SPUC release, 20 May ) Both houses of the US Congress voted last Thursday against allowing abortions to be performed on military bases. The US Senate voted 48 votes to 51 against such abortion provision, a rejection which had not occurred since 1998. The House of Representatives voted 201 votes to 227 against such abortion provision, as it had every year since 1996. [Information courtesy of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus] Swiss authorities are investigating recent cases of assisted suicide in Switzerland. The Zurich public prosecutor's office says that it is concerned about the speed with which the suicide organisation has assisted in a number of recent cases. [BBC, 27 May ] A baby has been born in South Africa after developing in its mother's liver instead of in the womb. The new-born girl called Nhlahla, whose name means "luck" in the Zulu language, is reported to be only the fourth baby ever to survive such a pregnancy. Doctors report that both mother and baby are doing well. This type of extra-uterine (outside the womb) pregnancy is similar to, though much rarer, than standard ectopic pregnancies, in which the newly-conceived embryo implants in the fallopian tube instead of in the endometrium (the lining of the womb). [BBC, 23 May ] A Florida judge has authorised doctors to perform an abortion on a 28 year old mentally disabled alleged rape victim. Miami circuit judge Arthur Rothenberg last Friday also authorised doctors to sterilise the mother and to take a DNA sample from the nearly six month old unborn child in order to establish his or her paternity. The ruling was given despite evidence from medical experts that there was no medical reason for the abortion. [AP/Worcester Telegram&Gazette, 23 May ] Dr Jack Willke, president of the International Right to Life Federation, commented: "We do not kill innocent living human beings, which is what the judge has allowed to be done here. I am also concerned for the woman, because an abortion at six months' gestation is far more dangerous to her life and health than a natural delivery. Why is there this rush to kill the baby and endanger his or her mother, when the child could so soon have a loving home to be adopted into?" A new study has concluded that abortion may be a risk factor for depression. The study, authored by Dr David Reardon of the Elliot Institute for Social Sciences Research, Illinois, compared the outcome for women of abortion versus delivery relative to depression. The study employed data for 1,884 women who experienced their first pregnancy event (abortion or childbirth) between 1980 and 1992. The study found that women whose first pregnancies ended in abortion were 65% more likely to score in the 'high-risk' range for clinical depression than women whose first pregnancies resulted in a birth. [Medical Science Monitor, 23 April ] SPUC's sister organisation British Victims of Abortion (BVA) offers support to people suffering after an abortion. An attempt by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to suppress advertisements critical of it has been rejected. Last month a global coalition of pro-life and pro-family groups (including SPUC) sponsored advertisements in CQ (Congressional Quarterly) Today detailing UNFPA's complicity in coercive population control. Following UNFPA's request to CQ Today to retract the advertisements, CQ Today obtained evidence from the advertisement's authors, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam), and CQ Today's legal advisors concluded that the claims about UNFPA were substantiated. [C-Fam Friday Fax, 23 May ] Further to Friday's (23 May) digest report regarding the Catholic bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, two more US Catholic bishops have cancelled their appearances at college commencement ceremonies in protest at the selection of pro-abortion speakers. Bishop James Timlin of Scranton, Pennsylvania and Bishop Timlin's auxiliary bishop John Dougherty cancelled their appearances at the University of Scranton and College Misericordia, Pennsylvania, respectively following claims by the Cardinal Newman Society that journalists scheduled to speak at the ceremonies were pro-abortion. [, 23 May ]

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