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Defending life from the moment of conception

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6 December 2004

6 December 2004

6 December 2004 A British peer and director of Marie Stopes International has suggested that parents from deprived areas should be dissuaded from having large families. Baroness Flather stated: "We need people with skills and large families are not always focused on that." Parents of larger families dismissed Baroness Flather's comments, accusing her of promoting eugenics. Marie Stopes International is considering producing material about the cost of bringing up a child. [The Times of London, 5 December ] A woman has died through assisted suicide after a British court lifted an injunction preventing her from travelling abroad. Mrs Z from Cheshire, who suffered from cerebellar ataxia, travelled to a Dignitas clinic in Switzerland where her death is being investigated by Zurich police. [The Times of London, 5 December ] The Voluntary Euthanasia Society have used the tragedy to restate their case for legal euthanasia in the UK, claiming: "The police and the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] did not take any action to stop this, which shows that the Suicide Act is now unenforceable." [Scotland on Sunday, 5 December ] A number of Darfur families, interviewed as part of a feature article on the crisis in Sudan, have said that they will care for the babies conceived after female members were raped by the Janjaweed. Thousands of women are thought to be have been raped by the Janjaweed militias across western Sudan as part of a systematic humiliation of the region's African tribes. Aadam, whose 30-year-old sister gave birth to a son following rape said: "No one will do anything to harm the baby" who is to be brought up as a member of the tribe. 15-year-old Muna, beaten and raped whilst out with a group of girls said: "I will not hate my daughter" and vowed not to tell her how she was conceived. [The Observer, 5 December ] An editorial in The Times of Malta has criticised attempts by the UN committee on economic, social and cultural rights to impose abortion on the island. The editorial states: "Across the world, the number of abortions, allowed by the law or unsanctioned, is greater than the sum total of soldiers and civilians killed in the wars of the 20th century. We should find this disregard for life in peaceful circumstances abhorrent." [The Times of Malta, 4 December ] The Doha International Conference for the Family has been held in Qatar, C-Fam reports. Speakers were drawn from a variety of different countries and religious backgrounds, and included Cardinal Lopez Trujillo and Rabbi Daniel Lapin. The Doha Declaration calls upon governments to examine their "population policies, particularly in countries with below replacement birthrates" and "ensure that the inherent dignity of human beings is recognised and protected throughout all stages of life." [C-Fam, 3 December ] Researchers from Pittsburgh University have noted that a chemical found in some shampoos and lotions affects the growth of nerve cells in rats. The finding has raised concerns that the same chemical, Methylisothiazoline, could harm human development if pregnant women are exposed to it. However, the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Perfumery Association has said that 'there is no cause for concern'. [The Guardian, 6 December ] The Irish Family Planning Association has started opening its clinics on Sundays to coincide with the run-up to Christmas. [Irish Examiner, 5 December ]

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