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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 9 October 2003

9 October 2003

9 October 2003 A conference in Bangkok on 'reproductive health rights' has asserted that some Thai women are being coerced into having abortions, the Bangkok Post reports. According to the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/Aids, 14% of women who test HIV positive are coerced into abortion or sterilisation and 31% are advised not to have children. [The Bangkok Post, 8 October ] A study carried out at the Johns Hopkins University claims that handheld abortion devices known as Manual Vacuum Aspirators are safe to use into the second trimester and could be mass produced for use in the developing world. Scott Weinberg of the Population Research Institute, stated: "Manual Vacuum Aspiration is so substandard a procedure that it should not be used anywhere." He added that PRI has "evidence showing that UK-funded Marie Stopes performs MVA abortions under the guise of post-abortion care in Kenya where abortion is illegal. Thousands of these hurtful devices have been callously delivered to Third World countries by UNFPA. They should be ashamed." [CWNews, 8 October ] The outgoing governor of California, Gray Davis, signed a bill last week allowing pharmacists to dispense the morning after pill. He also signed a bill into law authorising 'comprehensive' sex education for children, including those of pre-primary age. [LifeSite, 8 October ] The Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of a drug addict convicted after the death of her unborn child through the use of crack cocaine during pregnancy. Regina McKnight tested positive for cocaine and the stillborn child was found to have drugs in her system. McKnight is now serving between 12 and 20 years in South Carolina, though her lawyers claim that it cannot be proven that cocaine was the cause of the baby's death. 15 US states have laws protecting the unborn whilst 13 offer partial protection, according to National Right to Life. [Yahoo News, 6 October ] Ireland could become the first country in the world to seek the extradition of a person for assisted suicide, Total Catholic reports. The Republic's Director of Public Prosecutions has moved to extradite a US Unitarian minister who helped a woman commit suicide in Dublin last year. The Rev George Exoo of West Virginia aided the suicide of Rosemary Toole Gilhooley, who suffered from depression, and could face a 14 year prison sentence. [Total Catholic ] Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have announced a breakthrough in mammalian cloning through the combining of cloned mouse embryos. The technique improved the cell count and increased the cloned embryo survival rate from 1% to 8%. In a press release reporting on the advance, Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics responded: "We have reached a stage in scientific research and investment where the embryo is considered the most tempting target of all time." [CORE press release, 7 October]

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