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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 16 March 2004

16 March 2004

16 March 2004 A US appeals court has ruled that the husband of a Chinese woman forced to have an abortion cannot be denied asylum because the Chinese authorities did not recognise their marriage. Kui Rong Ma fled China on his wife's urging with the intention of sending for her later. However, he was initially refused asylum because the couple had married secretly when they were below the age requirement set by the Chinese authorities. The appeals panel stated: "The BIA's [Board of Immigration Appeals] refusal to grant asylum to an individual who cannot register his marriage with the Chinese government on account of a law promulgated as part of its coercive population control policy, a policy deemed by Congress to be oppressive and persecutory, contravenes the statute and leads to absurd and wholly unacceptable results." [The Guardian, 16 March ] A survey conducted by the contraception information service has found that four in 10 mothers become pregnant without intending to, with three-quarters wanting to keep their baby. The major reason given for an unintended pregnancy was contraceptive failure, including split condoms and problems with the pill. Seven in 10 women on the pill regularly forget to take it. [The Telegraph, 16 March ] A boy has been awarded damages estimated at over £1 million after an 'invasive investigation' in utero caused him to lose his leg. A court heard how a misplaced needle damaged an artery during surgery at the University of Wales hospital in Cardiff, interrupting blood flow to his left leg. When he was born, the bones of his leg were so atrophied that the limb came away. Mr Justice Owen expressed satisfaction that a 'fair and proper settlement' had been reached. [BBC, 15 March ] A member of Singapore's ruling party has said that the government should discourage abortions among married women to address the country's low birth rate. There is limited compulsory pre-abortion counselling in operation, but gynaecologists claim that only between five and 20% of women change their mind by that stage. The fertility rate dropped to just 1.23 children in 2003. [Yahoo News, 15 March ] There was relief from pro-life NGOs last week at the end of a meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The EU, backed by the UK delegate, attempted to have the phrase "to respect the reproductive and sexual rights of women and girls to prevent unwanted pregnancies" [a term which includes abortion] inserted into a document on the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality. After a contentious debate and lobbying by pro-life NGOs, the phrase was deleted. [SPUC UN source] Following the reported rise in assisted suicides in Oregon, a cancer doctor has voiced concerns that doctors are not following the law on prescribing lethal drugs. Dr Kenneth Stevens, president of Physicians for Compassionate Care said that non-terminal patients are being prescribed drugs. He referred to two patients in 2001 who were given prescriptions for lethal drugs that they did not take and were still alive a year later, showing that they were not terminally ill when they were prescribed the drugs. The prescribing doctor was only present in 29% of cases when the drug was used and only 5% of assisted suicide patients were referred for psychological evaluation. [, 15 March ] A heroin addict from Boston who is pregnant with triplets has been ordered by a judge to protect her unborn babies. Allen J. Jarasitis, a District Court Judge said: "If she wants to poison her own body that's one thing, but assuming what is in the police report is true, she's affecting three other people." [Boston Herald, 15 March ]

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