By continuing to browse our site, you are consenting to the use of cookies. Click here for more information on the cookies we use.


Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 14 July 2004

14 July 2004

14 July 2004 The publication of 4D ultrasound scans showing babies as young as 12 weeks gestation moving in the womb has stirred widespread debate about the UK's abortion laws, particularly the upper age limit. Most major newspapers have covered the debate and The Times of London and the BBC website have both run readers' debates on abortion. Scotland on Sunday covered the case of a pregnant woman who was having second thoughts about abortion as a result of seeing the pictures. A Gloucestershire newspaper covered the opinion of Laurence Robertson MP that abortion at 24 weeks was 'butchery of the worst kind' and that abortion should be outlawed. [The Times of London, 10 and 12 July , Scotland on Sunday, 11 July ,The Independent, 10 July , BBC, 9 July , This is Gloucestershire, 9 July ] SPUC welcomed the new images but warned that the UK currently has 'the most anti-life Parliament in history' and that the majority of MPs would vote to make abortion more widely available. [SPUC media release, 28 June ] An abortion boat run by a group called Women on the Waves has been banned by the Dutch government. Women on the Waves, which has visited countries with pro-life constitutions such as Ireland and Poland, was set up in 1999 with the idea of ferrying women into international waters to undergo chemical abortions. The Dutch Health Ministry has said that the boat will not be allowed to sail to other countries and must remain docked within 25km of an Amsterdam hospital. The group has said that it is studying its legal options. [BBC, 13 July ] An argument has broken out at an international AIDS conference over the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, stated that changing sexual behaviour was more important than condoms, saying: "This principle of condoms is not the ultimate solution. In some cultures sexual intercourse is so elaborate that condoms are a hindrance. Let the condom be used by people who cannot abstain, cannot be faithful, or are estranged." Opinion on condom use has become increasingly divided in health circles over the past year, with Steven Sinding of IPPF accusing the US government of 'naked pandering to an extremist constituency' and Harvard academic and policy advisor Edward Green stating the inadequacy of excessive focus on condoms. [FT, 12 July ] The Tel Aviv Regional Court has ruled that a man with irreversible brain damage can have his life support ended after relatives said that it was what he would have wanted. Judge Goren agreed to delay the execution of the judgement until Thursday after a request from the State. Crucially, tube feeding has not been included in the definition of life support and must be continued. [Israel National News, 13 July ] The General Assembly of the UN has unanimously endorsed the expansion of the Holy See's UN status. Abortion advocates such as 'Catholics' for a Free Choice and International Planned Parenthood have been campaigning for years to have the Holy See's permanent observer status revoked. The General Assembly granted the Holy See new privileges "in order to enable the Holy See to participate in a more constructive way in the Assembly's activities." Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's Permanent Observer to the UN, stated that the decision "marked an important step forward, and reflects the lofty values and collective interests shared by the Holy See and the United Nations." He added: "We are committed to the same objectives that necessitate the protection of fundamental human rights, the preservation of the dignity and worth of the human person and the promotion of the common good." [C-Fam, 9 July ] Tony Abbott, Australia's Federal Health Minister, has commented on plans to screen the UK documentary 'My Foetus', saying that abortion is 'an ugly business and it probably doesn't hurt for the Australian people to understand just what is going on in clinics all around Australia." The pro-abortion group Children by Choice has warned that it could upset women who have had abortions. [Cathnews, 12 July ] Nicaragua's bishops have called on legislators to respect the country's pro-life constitution in the wake of arguments in favour of legalising abortion. The Nicaraguan bishops' conference said in a statement: "We warn the lawmakers that this situation is even more grave because it tends to make the collective conscience lose the sense of 'crime' and assume, paradoxically, the 'right', to the point of pretending, by this legislation, a real and proper legal recognition by the state." [Zenit, 12 July ] Nearly three-quarters of teenage pregnancies end in abortion in some areas of the UK, according to new figures. In Epsom, 74% of teenage pregnancies end in abortion, whilst the figure in the Mole Valley is 70%. The high numbers are being attributed to easy abortion access and pressure on teenage parents. [Surrey Comet, 9 July ] Proposed legislation by Taiwan's Department of Health to lower the age limit for legal abortion has sparked debate among medical and social groups. Abortion was legalised up to the 24th week of pregnancy in 1984. The proposed revision of the law would reduce the age limit from 24 weeks to 12 weeks and require women seeking abortion to seek counselling and undergo three days of mediation beforehand. The draft legislation should be presented to the Legislative Yuan by the end of September. [Taipei Times, 11 July ] Trinidad pro-life groups are hoping to collect 100,000 signatures for a petition calling upon the government not to consider legalising abortion. Dr Noreen Johnson, a Trinidad-born gynaecologist based in the US, described the abortion industry as 'a lucrative one where the patient usually pays cash upfront before they have even seen a doctor.' She admitted that she was able to increase her income by nearly $70,000 by performing abortions at a Los Angeles hospital whilst completing her residency. [Trinidad and Tobago Express, 10 July ] The US government has asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision to uphold Oregon's euthanasia law. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals backed Oregon's law permitting doctor-assisted suicide by a 2-1 vote last May and 13 of the circuit's 25 judges would have to agree to another hearing for it to go ahead. [The Guardian, 12 July ] The European court of human rights has refused to grant an unborn child the right to life, dismissing the case of a woman whose unborn baby was accidentally killed in a French hospital. Mrs Thi-Nho Vo, a Vietnamese-born French citizen, attended a hospital for an examination when she was six months pregnant but was mistaken for another patient, Thanh Van Vo, who was there to have an IUD removed and the doctor pierced the baby's amniotic sac. 14 out of 17 judges ruled that there was no violation of human life, stating that there was no European consensus on the beginning of life and that, at best, the unborn child could be said to 'belong to the human race.' [The Guardian, 9 July ] The Crown Prosecution Service has dropped charges against a man who displayed a picture of an aborted baby at a demonstration. The police charged Kevin O'Neill under the 1986 Public Order Act, for displaying "threatening, abusive or insulting" signs but as this has failed in past prosecution attempts against pro-life activists, the charge was changed to committing an act of "lewd, obscene or disgusting nature, outraging public decency", a charge normally used for pornography and sex in public places. A spokesman for the civil rights group Liberty described the charge as 'absolutely bizarre', adding: "It is difficult to see why they were so determined to bring a criminal action against him." [The Guardian, 10 July ]

Be the first to comment!

Share this article