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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 1 October 2004

1 October 2004

1 October 2004 A fertility study released by the Office for National Statistics has reported that only half of women who postpone starting a family until their thirties go on to have children. Dr Angela McCallum, a volunteer with Fertility Care Scotland, said: "The figures do not surprise me as fertility is, of course, age-related and it does really depend on lifestyle choices made earlier in life. Everyone just assumes they are fertile, but a significant proportion of the population is not." [The Scottish Herald, 1 October ] The Church of Scotland has dismissed concerns by Cardinal Keith O'Brien about a planned sex education strategy for Scottish schools, accusing him of not trusting teachers' professionalism. Cardinal O'Brien described the planned sex education strategy as 'state-sponsored sexual abuse' of children. [The Scotsman, 1 October ] The Hospital Doctor magazine has conducted a survey of UK doctors' attitudes to late term abortion. According to the results, 9% believed that aborting a baby with cleft lip and palate was justifiable, compared with 59% who thought late term abortion justifiable for babies with spina bifida. 89% said that they would be more cautious about late term abortions if the doctors involved in the Joanna Jepson case were prosecuted. [The Daily Mail, 1 October ] The Director of GeneWatch UK has called on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to 'abandon paternalism in favour of modern informed debate' by adopting a policy of open assessment. In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, Dr Sue Mayer wrote: "Whether you are supportive of, opposed to or undecided on human embryo cloning for research, there will be no opportunity to consider the applications yourself or listen to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's deliberations - they are all secret." [The Telegraph, 1 October ] Italy may face a referendum after over a million people signed a petition against the country's fertility laws. The law bans embryo freezing and the screening out and destruction of embryos deemed 'unsuitable.' It also limits the number of embryos that can be created at one time to three, all of which must be implanted. It is reported that a petition in favour of the law but seeking to modify aspects of it has collected 750,000 signatures. [The Guardian, 1 October ] A woman has given birth to her dead husband's baby after undergoing IVF treatment using his frozen sperm. Peter Scott gave permission to his wife Diana to undergo the treatment when he was diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago. [BBC, 30 September ] The leader of New Zealand's National party has backed a call by one of his MPs to make it compulsory for doctors to notify parents if their underage daughters seek abortion. Don Brash said that there was 'overwhelming' support for Judith Collins' proposal in the party and that it had his support. [New Zealand Herald, 1 October ] A representative of the Spanish Socialist party has announced that proposals to legalise abortion on demand in the first trimester have been temporarily withdrawn. Pilar Lopez said that the party agreed with the proposals but that they should be included in next year's revision of the penal code. Ms Lopez also claimed: "The Popular Party has set us back years in terms of sexual education, especially in schools, and we need to foster it in order to reduce unwanted pregnancies." [CWNews, 30 September ] A two-year-old boy with Down's Syndrome has been named the co-plaintiff with his mother in Singapore's first 'wrongful birth' case. Katharine Soh Lea Chin, 47, is suing her obstetrician, claiming that he did not advise her to have prenatal screening tests and that caring for the child is 'physically and emotionally draining.' The defence denies liability, claiming that Soh was 24 weeks and two days' pregnant when she was seen by the doctor in question and was therefore too late to seek an abortion under Singapore's abortion law. [Borneo Bulletin, 30 September ]

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