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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 20 August 2004

20 August 2004

20 August 2004 Mrs. Christianne Vienne, the Belgian Health minister, has made a statement that she would wish girls aged 14 or under who have found themselves pregnant to have an abortion in 100% of cases. This statement comes after national statistics reported a four percent rise in adolescent pregnancies between 2002 and 2003 in Belgium. [LifeSite, 19 August ] US and Swiss doctors believe that they will one day be able to reverse the symptoms of Down's Syndrome. The researchers, Professor William Mobley from Stanford University and his colleagues, have found a gene which is responsible for mental impairment and are looking into the possibility that a drug could eventually be developed to reactivate the part of the brain that is affected by Down's. However they stress that their work is only in its early stages. [BBC News, 20 August ] A woman from Northern Ireland has spoken of her distress when she discovered that her seven-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter had been given explicit sex education leaflets at a Co Down summer scheme. The Southern Area Health Promotion Department has apologised for the mistake to the mother and other families whose children may have seen the leaflets. [The Belfast Telegraph, 19 August ] In Florida a trial judge has refused to remove a ballot question detailing an amendment in relation to the privacy rights of girls seeking abortions. Circuit Judge Jonathan Sjostrom has dismissed complaints on Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood, that the ballot was inaccurate and misleading. If the ballot question is successful it would allow law makers to write a law making sure that parents are informed if their adolescent daughters have an abortion. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled twice that laws relating to parental involvement in teen abortions violate the privacy rights guaranteed in the Florida Constitution. [The Miami Herald, 19 August ] Health ministers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have stated that they are opposed to any form of human cloning. This statement was made after a meeting between Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the South African Health Minister, and 13 of her counterparts. SADC have stated that human cloning could amount to the exploitation of human beings. [SABC News, 03 August ] But the South African government has passed a bill that now allows registered nurses to perform abortions. This is said to be surprising as according to latest government statistics nine out of ten of its citizens oppose abortion. [LifeSite, 19 August ] A new study has identified mutations in genes relating to the nervous system in babies who died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) which may offer a possible reason for their deaths. Dr. Debra E. Weese-Mayer, and colleagues at the Rush University in Pittsburgh conducted the research, comparing genetic material from 92 SIDS babies, and from 92 healthy babies. [Medical News Today, 20 August ] The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported a sharp rise in the number of stillbirths in the UK over a period of two years. The quality of maternity services has been questioned and the ONS is to work with the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to look for possible reasons. [The Guardian, 20 August ] A report by Dutch researchers has claimed that pregnant women with low levels of vitamin B12 in their blood are more likely to have babies with spina bifida, and other birth defects. Dr. Regine P.M. Steegers-Theunissen, of the University Medical Center Nijmegen led the research which measured vitamin B12 levels in 45 mothers with children who had spina bifida, and 83 mothers with children who were healthy. The research found that the women with disabled children had a 21% lower level of vitamin B12 compared to the mothers with healthy children. [Reuters, 18 August ]

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