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Defending life from the moment of conception

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21 December 2004

21 December 2004

21 December 2004 The Dutch government is being asked to take action to diminish the likelihood of the prosecution of doctors who give newborn babies fatal morphine injections. Although it remains illegal, it is said that, once a month on average, newborns with what are described as life-threatening disabilities are killed in this way. Dr Louis Kollée of Radboud University Medical Centre, who is campaigning for new regulations said: "If the doctor and the parents decide to terminate the life of the baby, it is illegal in any country. So it is murder. This is all very problematic for a doctor. He feels like a criminal. It's very difficult." [The Guardian, 21 December ] A senator from Kansas hopes to introduce an act that will raise awareness of the pain unborn children experience during abortion. The Unborn Child Awareness Act would require women considering abortions after 20 weeks into the pregnancy to be informed of the pain inflicted on their unborn child, and would also require abortion practitioners to enquire whether the mother wished her baby to be given anaesthesia preceding the abortion procedure. Senator Sam Brownback has told the Washington Post that the presidential election results imply Americans will support the bill. President Bush is expected to favour the legalisation. [, 20 December ] The annual abortion figure in India is at least 10 times the government estimate because of inadequate reporting and because citizens consider abortion a method of birth control, according to the Abortion Assessment Project India. Ravi Duggal, coordinator of the Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes which ran the project, reported that "around 4.8 million abortions are performed by formal service providers and another one-third of the abortions by informal service providers". The Indian government says there are some 600,000 abortions a year. [, 20 December ] Mr Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California, has been criticised for saying the Republican party should shift "a little to the left" on issues such as abortion, claiming it would attract more voters. Previously he came under scrutiny by pro-life advocates for backing a bill that would use taxpayers' funds to promote embryonic stem cell research. Mr Schwarzenegger said: "I would like the Republican Party to cross this line, move a little further left and place more weight on the centre... This would immediately give the party five percent more votes without its losing anything elsewhere." A post-election poll of voters showed that President Bush's stance on abortion actually gave him a 12% advantage. [, 20 December ] The health minister of the Australian state of Victoria has requested an investigation into the rise of late-term abortions. Ms Bronwyn Pike called for the study in the light of suggestions that women from other states were coming to Victoria for late abortion. Dr Bernadette White, clinical director of Mercy Hospital, Melbourne, confirmed that psychological distress and unwillingness to give birth to babies with disabilities had driven more women to having abortions late in pregnancy. [CathNews, 21 December ] The doctor who killed a woman in a failed abortion procedure has had his medical licence suspended for one year. The Medical Licensure Commission of Alabama said Dr Malachy Dehenre's actions were on several occasions "immoral, unprofessional or dishonourable". A meeting of the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure on the 20th of next month will determine whether his licence will be revoked permanently. [, 20 December ]

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