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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 26 May 2004

26 May 2004

26 May 2004 The morning after pill is to be distributed to schoolchildren in Worcestershire without the consent of parents. Jenny Kimberlee, an employee of the South Worcestershire Primary Care Trust, defended the decision. "All of us need some secrets from our parents," she said, "sometimes we need to speak to someone more objective." Veronica Lowe from SPUC pointed to the UK's poor record on teenage pregnancy and the spread of STIs, stating that the morning after pill was not the answer. [BBC, 25 May ] The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have launched a teaching document covering the Church's views on a range of issues, such as abortion, euthanasia, embryo research and war. The 103-page document Cherishing Life restates the Church's mission to protect human life, particularly its most vulnerable members. [The Guardian, 26 May ] SPUC has welcomed parts of the document, such as the section on abortifacient birth control and voiced concern about other parts, such as the section on how citizens should vote in a general election. John Smeaton, SPUC's national director said: "If British law currently permitted the killing of 500 Christians daily, surely that would be the top priority issue on which all Christians should judge political candidates... Why should unborn children be treated differently from other citizens in terms of their priority at election time?" [SPUC press release, 26 May ] The president of the Italian Bioethics Committee has criticised the establishment of the world's first stem cell bank in the UK, saying that the decision to perform experiments on embryonic stem cells rather than adult stem cells was based on 'economic rather than ethical critiera.' Francesco D'Agostino said that embryo research is much cheaper than adult stem cell research and that utilitarianism does not permit "adequate defence of the dignity of the human person." [Zenit, 25 May ] A survey of UK midwives has reported that one in five midwives knows a pregnant woman who is a victim of domestic violence. Some experts now believe that violence is one of the commonest pregnancy complications. 28% of midwives felt that they were not adequately trained to notice and help women suffering violence and 17% did not have time. [The Daily Mail, 26 May ]

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