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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 27 October 2003

27 October 2003

27 October 2003 SPUC has sent an open letter to BBC Director General Greg Dyke, challenging the BBC to back up claims made about the Catholic Church's pro-life teaching in its recent Panorama programme Sex and the Holy City. In a letter which detailed specific concerns, SPUC national director John Smeaton stated: "Not only did Sex and the Holy City fail to support such serious charges with objective, verifiable evidence, but there were also many other claims made in support of the general thesis of the programme which fly in the face of statistical, medical and scientific evidence from recognised and authoritative sources." [SPUC source ] A Liverpool hospital has reassured couples whose embryos were accidentally mixed with sperm from other men that their embryos could not have been harmed in any way. The error was discovered at the Liverpool Women's hospital when a member of staff noticed possible 'contamination' in the liquid in which the embryos were stored. The ten embryos involved were all implanted before the mistake was discovered, though only two implanted successfully and one of the remaining two miscarried. [BBC, 27 October ] Tayside has one of the worst abortion records in the country, The Courier reports. Members of SPUC released 1088 balloons in Dundee yesterday to symbolise the number of abortions in the area over the past year. Jacqueline Dalrymple of SPUC Scotland, argued that lack of education is the main problem. "Young people need emotional education and to be informed of the damage that can be caused by sexual relationships," she said. "We contact all schools in Tayside every year offering to talk to groups and we have visited many in the area and hope to go into more schools this year in the hope of reducing these figures." [The Courier, 27 October ] A survey by the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths has found that parents could be putting their babies at increased risk of cot death by overheating them, the BBC reports. The survey found that 56% of parents did not know the correct room temperature for babies. One in five thought it should be hotter than the recommended 16-20C and four in ten thought the house was cooler than it actually was. FSID's director Joyce Epstein advised parents to obtain a room thermometer and drew attention to signs of overheating such as sweating. [BBC, 27 October ] The deputy editor of the UK's New Statesman periodical has spoken of the 'cruel, utilitarian logic' of prenatal screening for Down's Syndrome. In a strongly worded article in The Observer, Christina Odone described the influence her half-brother, an adrenoleukodystrophy sufferer, had upon her parents lives and attitudes, concluding with the warning: "the Government hopes to standardise humanity. This might not prove difficult; but it will certainly rob us of our better selves." [The Guardian, 26 October ] One of the women who lost her High Court battle to implant her frozen embryos without her partner's consent, has admitted defeat after her legal aid was withdrawn. "The doctors are playing God really," said Lorraine Hadley, "It's like 'OK, we've made a life and we can throw it away as it doesn't matter.'" The two frozen embryos will be defrosted and destroyed next week. Explaining her reasons for going to the high court, Ms Hadley commented: "It was just to give that life that was started a chance. That's all I was asking for." [BBC, 24 October ]

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