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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 17 November 2003

17 November 2003

17 November 2003 Research conducted by the Institute of Public Policy Research has found that young professionals are delaying having children to enjoy a higher quality of life. Many women assume that they can keep postponing the decision to start a family and one in five UK women has not had a baby by the age of 40. According to the report: "People have begun to indulge in 'consumption smoothing' where they try to accumulate as much wealth as possible to lessen the impact of kids on lifestyle. This has huge implications for UK birth rates and the ageing population and pensions debates that are currently raging." [The Telegraph, 14 November ] The death of a teenager in New Zealand has re-opened the debate on patient confidentiality and the safety of certain contraceptive pills, CNSNews reports. Stacey Brindle died of a blood clot in May 2002. Neither the medics who attempted to save her nor her doctor were aware that she had obtained the third generation contraceptive pill Estelle from a family planning clinic, information that may have helped them save her life. However, the coroner stated that "Although it is suspected that the deep vein thrombosis was caused as a reaction to the drug Estelle 35D, no specific finding in this regard can be made." FPA executive director Dr. Gill Greer commented: "This tragedy highlights the tension between acknowledging the rights of young people to make their own decisions, and the desire of parents and society to protect them from today's social realities." [CNSNews, 12 November ] A panel of experts has called for quicker access to abortion and free condom distribution as part of Scotland's sexual health strategy. Professor Phil Hanlon, who chaired the panel, said that "the group's vision is for Scotland as a society to accept sex as a normal and healthy aspect of life in which people understand the value of their own sexual health, the importance of responsibility and respect for others." [The Scotsman, 13 November ] The National Institute of Clinical Excellence has recommended that women should not have the choice of a caesarean section without a medical reason, The Telegraph reports. The UK has a high caesarean rate, accounting for 21.5 per cent of births, seven percent of which are estimated to be for non-medical reasons. [The Telegraph, 13 November ] A medical ethics panel has stated that the embryonic stem cell lines approved by President Bush could be contaminated with animal cells and are therefore unsafe. The Johns Hopkins University panel recommended that President Bush allow new lines to be created, whilst pro-life groups have argued that the US should concentrate on adult stem cell research. [LifeSite, 13 November ] Israeli widows are to be permitted to harvest their dead husbands' sperm even if the men did not give their consent, Reuters reports. Under the new legal guidelines, permission will only be denied if a man has clearly refuse consent during his lifetime. The directive applies to partners as well as wives but not parents or other relatives. [Reuters, 13 November ] Concerns have been raised about the lack of parental facilities at many UK neonatal units, resulting in mothers being separated from their babies. UK has the highest rate of premature birth in western Europe with over 100 women giving birth prematurely every day. [Icwales, 13 November ] US Jewish women's groups have condemned the partial birth abortion ban, claiming that it endangers the health and rights of women. June Walker, national president of Hadassah, the US women's Zionist organisation said: "This ban deals a stunning blow to women's health: the law endangers women because it does not contain a health exception. Under Jewish law, the preservation of a woman's health is the standard in determining when an abortion is permissible." A campaign called Benchmark has been launched to encourage active support for abortion from the Jewish community. [Totally Jewish, 13 November ] Politicians in Latvia have demanded the resignation of Ingrida Cieene the health minister after she admitted carrying out abortions after taking office. Her actions were condemned by the chairman of the governing First Party as 'deeply immoral and unethical.' [The Universe, 16 November]

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