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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 23 February 2004

23 February 2004

23 February 2004 A UK pharmacy chain has apologised to a 23-year-old woman who was refused the morning-after pill by two staff members on conscientious grounds. The woman is reported as saying that she was embarrassed in front of other customers in a branch of Boot's the Chemist in Sheffield, south Yorkshire. Another Boot's employee in the shop provided her with the drug. The company said that the pharmacists' professional body allows for conscientious objection but that it was reviewing its procedures. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service criticised the staff members' actions and has called for an investigation. It wants there always to be one pharmacist on duty who will dispense morning-after pills. [Sheffield Today, 20 February ] Estimates of the cost of providing UK state-funded in vitro fertilisation (IVF) have been revised downwards. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence is expected to suggest later this week that all infertile women under 40 should receive three free attempts at IVF. The cost (presumably annual) was said to be £400 million but MPs now say it will be a 10th of that. When secretary of state for health in late 2002, Mr Alan Milburn MP asked the institute to write guidelines to avoid alleged geographical inconsistencies in the availability of free IVF. The parliamentary group on infertility wants the guidelines to deal with IVF for homosexual couples. [ITV, 23 February ] Pregnant women could damage their unborn children's brains by taking anti-depressants, according to research on 34 American mothers and babies led by North Carolina university. The results of the study are published in the Pediatrics journal and, while acknowledging that the sample was small, the team say the findings are grave and need to be followed up. The Eli Lilly company said that labels on packets of its fluoxetine-based Prozac drug stated that it did not damage foetuses. It is estimated that four percent of babies born in England and Wales are exposed in the womb to such selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. [Telegraph, 22 February ] American black pro-life activists have highlighted how people of their race account for a disproportionately high number of abortions. Ms Day Gardner of Black Americans for Life pointed out that, while black women were 13% of the population, they had 35% of the abortions. Black people were not replenishing themselves. She did not wish to downplay the death of 40 million unborn children of all races since legalisation in 1973. Rev Janine Simpson of CareNet said Black History Month should be marked by supporting women with unplanned pregnancies. [Focus on the Family, 20 February ] Guernsey medics' views on euthanasia have been sought by a working party which will report to the government's advisory and finance committee next month. It is said that more people will also be consulted. Dr Robbie Hanna, who represents the primary care committee on the group, said that it was for the island's people to decide on whether the law should be changed. [BBC, 21 February ] Mr Ivor Stanbrook, a British pro-life Conservative MP from 1970 to 1992, has died aged 80. [Times, 23 February ]

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