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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 11 February 2004

11 February 2004

11 February 2004 A Preston newspaper has been inundated with calls after it publicised the risk of children developing learning difficulties if their mothers took an epilepsy drug during pregnancy. Epilim was thought to be relatively safe to take during pregnancy but is now thought to be linked with developmental problems and the committee on safety of medicines has advised that women should not be prescribed it without specialist advice. [Preston Today, 10 February ] A conference has been held in London to discuss improving maternity care for teenagers, particularly addressing the need to recruit more midwives. The UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Western Europe. [NHS Magazine, 10 February ] A pilot scheme in Nottingham offering the morning after pill, condoms and pregnancy tests for free will continue this year. A number of pharmacies are involved in the scheme, with pharmacists receiving training to provide contraceptive advice to under 18s. [Evening Post, 10 February ] Research presented at a conference in San Francisco has found that a drug given to HIV-positive pregnant women in Africa to prevent the virus being passed to the child, may reduce its effectiveness when the women need it to treat their infection. In the developed world, HIV-positive women are given a cocktail of powerful drugs during pregnancy but women in developing countries receive a single injection of the drug nevirapine. Dr Isabelle De Zoysa, WHO director of HIV prevention, said that the evidence was inconclusive and that nevirapine was "a safe and very efficacious regimen." [BBC, 11 February ] A woman is demanding £30,000 compensation after she had a baby following a failed abortion. Leah Murray told a doctor that she thought she was still pregnant but failed to attend hospital for a scan. The case continues. [Daily Record, 11 February ] New research has found that the majority of home pregnancy tests do not detect pregnancy in its early stages, suggesting that women should wait at least a week after a missed period before carrying out a test. Only three out of 18 tests on pregnant women read a positive result on the second day after a missed period, as opposed to eight out of 18 on the third day. [Reuters Health, 10 February ] Pro-life groups in Washington have reacted in disbelief to a proposed bill that would encourage parents to have no more than two children. The advice would come in the form of a pamphlet highlighting the alleged benefits of small families. The Seattle Times dismissed the proposals as "unabashed government nannyism." [, 9 February ] The Pontifical Academy for Life plans to celebrate its 10th anniversary by honouring its first president, the late Jerome Lejeune. The academy's 10th general assembly later this month will dedicate its first day to celebrating the anniversary, commemorating the work of Lejeune and looking at the academy's work and the teachings of John Paul II. [Zenit, 9 February ] A campaign to distribute the morning after pill in Honduras has been criticised by the Catholic bishops there, who have warned that involvement in abortion is grounds for excommunication. [Catholic World News ]

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