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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 20 July 2004

20 July 2004

20 July 2004 The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has again warned pro-lifers against giving support to a review of British abortion law. Lord Steel of Aikwood, the pioneer of the 1967 Abortion Act, today told the House of Lords that a parliamentary select committee "could usefully review" whether Britain should copy the laws of other European countries which allow abortion on demand in early pregnancy, and whether the signatures of two doctors should still be required for legal permission of an abortion. When Lord Warner, the health minister, denied that Lord Steel was also calling for the upper time-limit for abortions to be lowered to 12 weeks' gestation, Lord Steel remained conspicuously silent. In marked contrast to recent media reports of remarks by the Prime Minister, Lord Warner said new 3D ultrasound pictures of the unborn child "did not contribute to the abortion debate", stated that the government had "no plans to change the law on abortion" and did not endorse the establishment of a committee to review the upper time-limit. [House of Lords Hansard, 20 July ] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "Today's debate provides further evidence that it is wishful thinking to believe that Lord Steel is interested in tightening the abortion law. The agenda seems to be to tidy up unfinished business from the previous round of abortion liberalisation in 1990, by removing any legal sanction against abortion in (at least) the first 12 weeks of pregnancy." [SPUC, 20 July ] A couple in Wales are appealing for an IVF egg donor by issuing leaflets and displaying posters in both English and Welsh in shops, colleges and a licensed bar. Mrs Caron Barnes, 42, who has had unsuccessful fertility treatment for six years, says it could soon be too late for her to bear a child. She has had two ectopic pregnancies. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said there was a shortage of eggs and recommended that Mr and Mrs Barnes should take part in an arrangement where a woman aged less than 35 shares half of the eggs she is providing for her own IVF. [BBC, 19 July ] The New Zealand Catholic Education Office is calling for an end to the provision of abortions to girls of all ages without parental knowledge or consent. Brother Pat Lynch has pointed out that children need parental permission to leave school premises to go to the dentist. He said that the policy on abortion goes against attempts to forge partnerships. Some girls could be exposed to medical risks because only their parents might know of any special conditions they had. It is intended to replace the Guardianship Act with a Care of Children Bill and the education office wants the 27-year-old rule on parental involvement in abortion to be abolished at the same time. [CathNews, 20 July ] Scientists at Johns Hopkins university, Maryland, claim to have made it easier to use human embryo cells therapeutically. Dr Linzhao Cheng's team have found that they can get the immune system not to reject embryo tissue. They influenced embryo cells to affect the behaviour of T cells which can reject foreign tissue. [The Lancet on Medical News Today, 20 July ] Extracting embryos' cells for therapy entails the destruction of early human life. Drugs given during fertility treatment to stimulate ovulation can cause the gums to be inflamed or to bleed, according to Cukurova university, Turkey. The problems could be caused by the way that the drugs increase oestrogen levels. [Journal of Periodontology in Reuters, 19 July ] Eating a lot of beef or ham could increase the risk of endometriosis. Scientists at Milan university, Italy, surveyed more than 500 women. Those who ate a lot of green vegetables or fresh fruit had a reduced chance of contracting the disease [Reuters, 19 July ] The condition, which involves the growth of uterine tissue outside the uterus, can cause infertility.

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