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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 27 August 2004

27 August 2004

27 August 2004 The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has pointed out how new statistics show that the government is failing to cut abortion among teenage girls, despite its undertaking to do so. Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, said: "The government pledged to halve teenage abortions over the current decade. New figures for last year actually show a rise in the recorded abortion rate among under-16s from 3.7 to 3.9. Worse, the morning-after pills which are part of the government's strategy will have caused many unrecorded abortions because of what they can do to young embryos. The government pretends to care but it plainly does not. Earlier this month it announced guidelines which allow girls under 16 to have abortions without parental consent or notification. The figures also confirm that Britain's abortion holocaust exceeded six million lives by the end of 2003. In England and Wales alone, the total to date is nearly 5.7 million. [SPUC, 27 August ] Brazil's Supreme Federal Tribunal is expected to decide within two weeks whether the government must permit abortion in the case of anencephaly. The Human Rights, Gender and Bioethics Institute based in Brasilia, the capital city, likens the current rules on abortion to the physical and psychological torture of women. The debate made national headlines earlier in the year when a 19-year-old tried to get a court-approved abortion and gave birth at the same time her appeal was received by the courts. Gabriela Cordeiro changed her mind after holding her baby for seven minutes before it died and now campaigns against abortion. [Knight Ridder, 24 August ] Paul Tully of SPUC said: "Babies with anencephaly are human beings with the same right to life as any other unborn child. The fact that their lives will inevitably be short does not affect their right to live out their natural life span. The suggestion that not allowing abortion for anencephaly constitutes 'physical and psychological torture' for women is to pretend that abortion has no effect on women. It is better for women to know that their baby died naturally, than for them to feel that they were complicit in the baby's death by abortion." A Chinese woman charged with drug smuggling was forced to have an abortion by police so that she would not avoid the death penalty, The Straits Times reports. Ma Weihua, 29, was arrested in January for carrying 1.6 kilograms of heroin in a vest. She was discovered to be pregnant and wanted to keep the baby but the anti-drugs force signed the abortion consent form on her behalf. Pregnant women are exempted from capital punishment under Chinese law. [The Straits Times, 26 August ] Rates of chlamydia infection in Scotland have risen 16% in three months, spurring calls for sex education to begin at an earlier age. However, Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said that sex education was part of the problem and that infection rates would only continue to grow. [The Scottish Herald, 26 August ]

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