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Defending life from the moment of conception

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12 November 2004

12 November 2004

12 November 2004 A UK survey has found that the average age of first-time fathers is growing, largely due to financial concerns. Jason Wyer-Smith of Virgin Money Life Insurance said that if the trend continues, the average man would not start a family until he was 50. 56% of new fathers worried about providing for their family and the average time a father spends with a new baby during the first year of their life is just 4.5 days a month. [BBC, 12 November ] A report supported by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has found that maternal deaths in the UK are increasing and that a third of women who die during pregnancy, childbirth or in the year after the birth of a baby are obese. Professor James Drife stated: "Some procedures are just more difficult to do if someone is very overweight." Suicide was cited as the biggest cause of maternal death after birth. [The Daily Telegraph, 12 November ] Women who donate eggs for IVF treatment could be offered £1000 payment amid concerns that the ending of donor anonymity could create a shortage. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is reviewing compensation for 'expenses and inconvenience' currently offered to both egg and sperm donors and may also consider limiting the number of children per donor and importing gametes and embryos. [The Daily Telegraph, 12 November ] The UK teenage pregnancy rate continues to rise in spite of costly government programmes, The Guardian reports. Over half of pregnant teenagers give birth but the majority of under-16s have abortions. The Department of Education and Skills were undeterred by the evidence, insisting that they have a 10-year strategy and that it takes time for changes to occur. [The Guardian, 12 November ] A couple who made a suicide pact, stating in a letter that they had been let down by the National Health Service and could not cope with their disabled daughter, asked her to join them, it has emerged. Bill and Wendy Ainscow swallowed a cocktail of drugs before walking into the sea off the coast of Tenerife where Mr Ainscow, 75, died and his wife was rescued and hospitalised. Their daughter, Lisa, a 33-year-old who has Asperger's Syndrome said that they told her she would be 'on the streets, begging' and that no one would help her if she did not agree to kill herself. Brenda Nally from the National Autistic Society said that there needs to be better access to mental health and social services for Asperger's sufferers. [BBC, 11 November ] An article in The Economist has highlighted the demographic changes being caused by Japan's declining population. Japan's fertility rate dropped to below 1.3 last year and, if current trends continue, the proportion of under-15s in the population will fall to below 11% of the population by 2050. [The Economist, 11 November ] An Australian MP has suggested improved counselling and assistance for pregnant teenagers to place their babies for adoption as a compassionate alternative to abortion. Alan Cadman said: "It would be just wonderful if a few thousand more Aussie kids were born every year." [Sydney Morning Herald, 12 November ] The Abortion Grief Counselling Association is lobbying MPs to consider banning coercive abortion. In a letter sent to all members of the federal parliament, they wrote: "We recommend strategies that give women more time, ensure they are adequately warned, a legal penalty for those who coerce women to abortion and for the training of health care providers to identify and treat abortion trauma." [The Age, 11 November ] Malta has been targeted by the UN human rights committee alongside Morocco and Poland with demands that it change the law to allow abortion. A member of the UN committee, Mr Franco Depasquale is Maltese. [di-ve news, 11 November ] A spokeswoman for SPUC said: "The UNHRC has no authority to impose its dictatorial policies on an independent sovereign state. Let the UNHRC focus on genuine human rights abuses rather than demanding the exploitation of women and the ending of innocent lives through abortion." [SPUC source] The retiring rector of Krakow's Pontifical Academy of Theology has criticised the UN committee's interference. Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek stated: "I wonder who has given the UN the task of indicating what is right and what is wrong." He pointed out that the right to life is a fundamental principle of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [Zenit, 11 November ] The director of the Caroline Chisholm Centre for Health Ethics in Melbourne, Australia, has said that embryonic stem cell research has no ethical justification. Speaking at the International Conference on Cloning and Stem Cell Research, Fr Norman Ford stated that many people view the human embryo as a mere commodity without any value, but that belief in the value of human life at all stages of development goes back thousands of years and is rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures. [, 9 November ] Pro-life groups in the US are to protest outside cinemas at the opening of a film glorifying Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey has been held responsible for ushering in the sexual revolution, paving the way for abortion and widespread sexual ill health. The film glosses over Kinsey's interest in paedophilia and the sexual abuse of children as part of his research into sexual behaviour. [, 11 November ] Human Life International held a conference in Trinidad and Tobago last week to discuss the proposed Women's Choice on Pregnancy Bill that would legalise abortion on demand up to 14 weeks and would allow people other than doctors to perform abortions. Abortion is currently prohibited in Trinidad and Tobago but according to HLI the law is not enforced. [, 11 November ] The South African National Assembly has passed the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill permitting nurses to carry out abortions. A recent poll found that 86% of the public opposed nurses performing abortions and the Nurses Union DENOSA expressed concerns that the law would drive nurses from the public sector. [, 11 November ] A British film about a fifties backstreet abortionist has been nominated for a European Film Academy Award. The lead actress Imelda Staunton has been nominated for best actress. [BBC, 11 November ]

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