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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 8 September 2003

8 September 2003

8 September 2003 An Indian soap opera is tackling the issue of sex selective abortion in a bid to raise awareness about the problem and to change attitudes, The Observer reports. Pre-natal gender screening has been illegal since 1994 but continues to be widely practised. 90% of the estimated 3.5 million babies aborted in India every year are girls and the gender discrepancy continues to widen, with the number of girls dropping from 945 to 927 per 1000 boys between 1991 and 2001. [The Observer, 7 September ] At a workshop on sex determination and female foeticide, the general secretary of the All-India Democratic Women's Association warned that the sex ratio in the state of Andhra Pradesh has reached a 'danger mark'. Brinda Karat also condemned the proposed two-child policy, claiming that it will cause a massive increase in the numbers of girls being aborted. [The Hindu, 8 September ] A scheme called the Reality Project is attempting to combat teenage pregnancy and discourage young people from drinking and taking drugs during pregnancy through the use of physically deformed 'virtual' baby dolls. The programme is similar to an earlier campaign in which teenage girls were given dolls that cried and needed to be fed to warn children of the difficulties of caring for a baby. [Serious About News, 8 September ] Alison Davis, co-ordinator of the SPUC disability rights division No Less Human, commented: "These dolls perpetuate the myth that disabled people are nothing more than their obvious disabling condition, and make it more likely that young people would abort if their own baby were disabled. Children need to be taught the dangers of alcohol and drugs responsibly. This tactic will only serve to make disabled unborn babies even more vulnerable than they already are." [SPUC source] Brazilian heart patients have received adult stem cell treatment as a substitute for heart surgery, according to an item in the Australasian Bioethics newsletter. The treatment involved bone marrow cells being extracted from the patient and injected into the left ventricle. [Australasian Bioethics Newsletter, 5 September ] The world's first digital pregnancy test has been launched, according to Channel Four News. The machine detects the hCG hormone in a woman's urine then flashes "Pregnant" or "Not Pregnant" on a liquid crystal display. The result remains on the screen for an hour in case the woman does not want to know the answer immediately. [Channel Four News, 5 September ]

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