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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 6 May 2003

6 May 2003

6 May 2003 Overweight and obese expectant mothers have double the chance of having children with heart defects and double the risk of multiple birth defects, according to the US government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study, described in this month's Pediatrics journal, also confirms that maternal obesity in pregnancy increases the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. The babies of obese women were three times more likely to suffer from omphalocele, where abdominal organs protrude through the navel. It is suggested that obesity could cause diabetes in women as well as increased need for folic acid. [AP on CNN, 4 May ] A lawyer in Australia functioning as guardian of an unidentified 68-year-old woman with dementia is asking the supreme court to rule on whether feeding and hydration by tube is medical treatment. Mr Julian Gardner, a public advocate, is acting for the woman who has Pick's disease and is kept alive in a nursing home by artificial feeding. The case is expected to be heard in nine days' time. Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, president of the Australian medical association's Victoria division, says he would welcome a ruling and would support the withdrawal of medical care. He says Victoria's law on tube feeding is obscure. [Courier-Mail, 5 May ] The Canadian government has refused to publish the results of its enquiry into the death of a woman who took part in a trial of RU-486, the abortion drug. The ministry concerned says that the information belongs to Dr Ellen Wiebe of Vancouver who conducted the experiment and who promotes RU-486. Preliminary findings suggested that the woman died of septic shock unconnected with the administration of the drug. [LifeSite, 5 May ] The Japanese government intends to spend up to 10 billion Yen a year on fertility treatment for married couples to combat a falling birth-rate. Couples might receive 100 thousand Yen over two years for treatments such as in vitro fertilisation. [Daily Yomiuri, 6 May ] Fragments of aborted children's bones which remain in the uterus can make mothers infertile, according to a Canadian study described in last month's Fertility and Sterility journal. Researchers at Ottawa university used ultrasound to find bones which would have gone undetected by tube cameras. When the bones were removed, the women could conceive again. Bones are present in babies at 12 weeks' gestation. [LifeSite, 5 May ] The British Columbia supreme court has found a woman guilty of assisting a suicide caused by breathing car fumes in a sealed garage. Ms Julianna Zsiros, 39, helped Ms Linda Whetung, 50, to kill herself. Ms Zsiros, who stood to inherit $30,000 from Ms Whetung, will be sentenced next month and is free on bail. The defence said Ms Whetung wanted to die because she was in great pain. [Canadian Press on canada.com, 30 April ] An environmental group has suggested that chemicals from domestic manufactured goods can adversely affect unborn children's tissue. Greenpeace were commenting on research on dust recovered from 100 British homes by laboratories which the organisation supports at Exeter university, England. [This is Exeter, 5 May ] Our source does not make clear what substances are involved but it mentions chemicals used in making television sets, fabrics and toys, including fire-retardants. Women and girls, including those under the age of consent, will be able to get abortifacient morning-after pills without a doctor's prescription if the Saskatchewan, Canada, government succeeds in passing legislation. The law would come into effect towards the end of this year. [LifeSite, 5 May ]

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