News, 9 May 2003
9 May 2003
9 May 2003 Women who have abortions could be almost two-thirds more likely to become clinically depressed, according to results of a new nationwide American survey published in the Medical Science Monitor. Nearly 1,900 women who first became pregnant between 1980 and 1992 were studied. The research allowed for age, incidence of divorce, education, income, marital status, race and a measure of the women's psychological state before they became pregnant. The Elliot institute of Illinois said their research was one of a growing number of studies which reached a similar conclusion. In 1988 the surgeon general had recommended a major survey of the consequences of abortion but this was never carried out. [LifeSite, 8 May ] Nearly 400,000 human embryos are frozen in the USA. The first full check on their number yielded more than expected. Some 11,000 could be used for research, 9,000 have been offered to other couples and another 9,000 are due to be destroyed. Nearly 90% of the embryos' parents wanted to use them for fertility treatment. Researchers complain about the ban on federal funding for work on human embryos and that parents are less likely to trust research by private bodies. The Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research says it will use the figures to argue for government money for embryo research at hearings in Congress later this month. [Fertility and Sterility, May, on Reuters, 8 May , and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 May ] A committee of the US House of Representatives has decided by one vote to oppose President Bush's 2001 ban on birth control funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Supporters of the measure want America to give the UNFPA $100 million over two years. Mr Christopher Smith, a Republican representative from New Jersey, said that the UNFPA worked "hand in glove" with the Chinese government, which coerces women into having abortions. [SFGate, 8 May ] It is unclear whether the committee's vote is decisive. The supreme court of Connecticut has ruled that a foetus is part of a woman's body, though the chief justice additionally wrote that it might also have a separate existence. The ruling was in the case of a man who allegedly gave his girlfriend drugs to induce a miscarriage. The defendant argued that he could not be charged with assaulting the child's mother because he aimed to attack the foetus. Right to Life Corp welcomed the court's recognition of the unborn child but pointed out that the foetus would have had different DNA from the mother and, possibly, a different blood type. A pro-abortion group expressed concern at the prospect of rights for the unborn, saying they undermined the Roe v Wade decision which legalised abortion in America. The state governor is expected to sign a bill increasing penalties for assaulting a woman and causing a miscarriage. [AP on ABC, 8 May ] Britain's health service has been criticised for inadequate, inconsistent and inappropriate funding for in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Dr Peter Brinsden of a Cambridgeshire fertility clinic told a Royal Society of Medicine conference in London that Britain's funding was the lowest in Europe and that money was not allocated fairly between regions. While the state funded laparoscopy and tubal treatments, which he said were largely ineffective, many couples were not helped with IVF or intracytoplasmal sperm injection. There was a call for more sperm-washing for couples affected by HIV. [The Times, 9 May ] In vitro fertilisation leads to extensive loss of human embryonic life.