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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 22 September 2003

22 September 2003

22 September 2003 An 18-year-old woman died last week from complications thought to have been caused by the RU-486 abortion pill. Holly Patterson developed severe cramps and bleeding after taking the pill but was told by doctors that it was a normal part of the process. She was later admitted to hospital with septic shock and a severe bacterial infection and died five hours later. Planned Parenthood, where Ms Patterson obtained the drug, describe RU-486 as a "safe, effective, acceptable option" but a Washington Times report has revealed several deaths caused by the abortion pill in the last year. Holly Patterson's mother, Deborah, said: "We hope with Holly's passing that other families can come together and take care of issues. We want to save other girls from the same demise and heartbreak. It was so needless, so needless." [Tri-Valley Herald, 20 September ] A BBC report into eugenic abortion in the UK has found that pregnant women whose babies are found to have disabilities during pre-natal screening are being pressured into having abortions. The eugenicist John Harris was reported praising eugenic abortion and criticising those who give birth to disabled babies. However, Bill Albert from the Council of Disabled People, demanded that society "face up to what's going on and not say this is about choice, this is about elimination." [BBC, 22 September ] Alison Davis of No Less Human, a group within SPUC, commented: "Prof. John Harris, in defence of eugenics, regards couples who refuse to abort a disabled baby as "misguided" and claims to be trying to achieve a "better world" by "making choices about which people will exist in the future." It is only when every baby is welcomed as a unique and infinitely valuable asset that we will truly achieve the "better world" that Prof. Harris claims to want." [SPUC source] A newly published study by a Dundee University professor has found that smoking during pregnancy is a major risk factor for cleft palate in children. The study found that 70% of 16-19-year-old mothers with children who had cleft palate were smokers, leading Professor Peter Mossey to urge public health education to raise awareness among teenage girls about the risks. [The Courier, 22 September ] Scientists claim to have demonstrated that 'therapeutic' cloning techniques can be used to treat conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's in mice. They hope in the future to use cells taken from cloned human embryos to treat Parkinson's patients. [Channel 4 News, 21 September ] The 12-year-old girl who became pregnant whilst working as a prostitute did not go ahead with her planned abortion, according to her family. The girl, who is in secure accommodation after absconding from her care home 39 times, may now have the abortion next week. [The Lancashire Telegraph, 22 September] The pro-abortion organisation, 'Catholics' for a Free Choice, has praised UNFPA's work in spite of finding evidence that coercive tactics continue to be used in Chinese counties where UNFPA operates. However, CFFC President Frances Kissling admitted that their knowledge of the area is 'very limited' and it is not known whether her team spoke to individual women or investigated independently of Chinese government officials. [C-Fam, 19 September ] The Inter-Academy Panel, a network of international scientific societies, is expected to call for a ban on 'reproductive' human cloning, whilst leaving the door open for 'therapeutic' cloning. The move is backed by the president of the Royal Society, on the grounds that attempts to produce a cloned baby would be 'grossly irresponsible' and exploitative of the vulnerable. [BBC, 22 September ] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, said: "The Inter Academy Panel's statement does not call for a permanent ban on cloning for childbirth but says that the ban 'should be reviewed periodically in the light of scientific and social developments.' It is clear that certain promoters of destructive embryo research are using the consensus against cloning for childbirth as a cloak of respectability for their real agenda of securing an international law requiring all countries to allow cloning for research." [SPUC source] Researchers from the Newcastle Freeman Hospital have found that women with diabetes are five times more likely to have a child with a structural heart defect, News and Star reports. The report found heart defects in 3.6% of babies with diabetic mothers, compared with 0.74% born of mothers who did not have the condition. Diabetes UK stated: "Diabetes can increase the risk of problems in a pregnancy but the risk is still small. This is why it is important for those with diabetes to ensure that their condition is very well controlled throughout pregnancy." [News&Star, 20 September ]

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