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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 11 September 2003

11 September 2003

11 September 2003 The British fertility specialist Lord Robert Winston has criticised the poorly researched fertility treatments being used in clinics across the UK. He claims that the potential risks to the health of IVF babies posed by procedures such as embryo freezing have been largely ignored because of commercial interests. Several studies have revealed higher rates of birth defects and low birth weight among IVF children, particularly those conceived through the intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection method. However, Lord Winston went on to express relief that the NHS has been asked to provide free IVF and stated that he was not arguing that IVF is dangerous. [The Times, 11 September ] A 12-year-old girl in the care of the social services has become pregnant whilst working as a prostitute, The Telegraph reports. The girl, who cannot be named, has absconded from her care home 36 times, leading her grandmother to ask for her to be placed in a secure unit. The girl is booked in for an abortion on September 19th. [The Telegraph , This is Blackburn, 11 September ] Eileen Brydon, a counsellor for British Victims of Abortion, commented: "Putting this child through an abortion is not the answer, she needs the care and support that all children deserve. We urge her and those responsible for her welfare to get in touch with us." [SPUC source] The Indian Supreme Court has ordered that laws banning sex-selection ultrasound tests must be enforced in the face of the growing gender gap. The government is also trying to eradicate the banned practice of dowry, an expensive gift given by a bride's parents which can act as a financial incentive to abort baby girls. [BBC, 10 September ] A man convicted of conspiring to murder his pregnant girlfriend because she refused to have an abortion will not contest a civil lawsuit against him by the victim's mother, LifeNews reports. Cherica Adams was eight months pregnant when she was shot. Doctors were able to save the baby by performing an emergency Caesarean section but Adams later died. Rae Carruth's refusal to fight the lawsuit has been taken as an admission of guilt by Adams' family but Carruth intends to appeal his conviction. [LifeNews.com, 10 September ] A newly established Choose Life group at Yale University is asking the university health services to give pro-life students a nominal $1 rebate, arguing that students who oppose abortion should not be forced to subsidise it. The refund policy is already in operation at Harvard and is of a largely symbolic nature, recognising the existence of pro-life views among the student population. According to Harvard's direct of health services, David Rosenthal, between 80 and 101 students request the rebate in any given year. [Yale Daily News, 10 September ] Leading Scottish lawyers and mental health doctors have criticised the British government's draft Mental Incapacity Bill, which would legalise euthanasia by neglect. In oral evidence given yesterday to the parliamentary committee considering the Bill, the Law Society of Scotland said that there will be a grave risk of misuse of lasting (healthcare) powers of attorney, highlighting the significant amount of abuse already committed under enduring (financial) powers of attorney. The Society said that the 'general authority' under the Bill was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, would be used retrospectively to justify convenient decisions imposed upon incapacitated patients and would require a decade of litigation in order to clarify its limits. The Society also said that the distinct lack in the Bill of a definition of care could lead to great problems, and rejected the Bill's inclusion of the concept of 'best interests'. Dr Donald Lyons, medical adviser for elderly services to the Greater Glasgow Primary Care Trust, said that his grave reservations about the Bill meant that he would not want to work under the Bill if it was passed. [SPUC eyewitness] In another development, a charity representing people with learning difficulties has launched a campaign against the draft Mental Incapacity Bill. 'People First' have stated that "If the Mental Incapacity Bill becomes a new law it will be a very big step backwards for people with learning difficulties' rights" and that "giving a right to carers and paid staff to make choices for people with learning difficulties is very dangerous and against our human rights." [People First ] SPUC's campaign page on the draft Mental Incapacity Bill can be read here

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