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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 18 October 2004

18 October 2004

18 October 2004 A mother has launched a legal challenge to try to stop doctors performing abortions on underage girls without parental knowledge. Sue Axon wants a judicial review of the Government's guidance which allows doctors to perform secret abortions, following the case of a 14-year-old schoolgirl who had a secret abortion arranged for her by a school health worker. [The Daily Mail, 18 October ] SPUC has welcomed Mrs Axon's court action. John Smeaton, SPUC's national director said: "This government is committed to allowing abortion for schoolgirls as young as 11, and without parental involvement. It is time that parental rights and responsibilities were again respected." He added: "Our supporters include many parents and they will be redoubling their efforts to get schools to adopt policies which do not allow for any referrals for abortion, with or without parental knowledge or consent." [SPUC press release, 17 October ] Three people from Bulgaria have been charged with baby smuggling and are due to be tried in a court in Athens, BBC reports. Baby trafficking in Greece, particularly concerning women from Albania and Bulgaria, is not uncommon as there is a low birth rate in the country and a chronic shortage of babies available for adoption. The three are accused of detaining a pregnant Bulgarian teenager in order to sell her baby. [BBC, 18 October ] A man has been charged with murdering his wife in a suspected suicide pact that failed. Brian Blackburn, 62, called emergency services when his apparent suicide attempt failed. His terminally ill wife had cuts to her wrists and was declared dead at the scene. Mr Blackburn was treated for lacerations and subsequently arrested. [The Times of London, 18 October ] Scientists at Newcastle University have applied for a licence to create human embryos with three genetic parents. The experiment would involve the creation of a single-cell zygote which would then have its nucleus removed and implanted into a donor egg whose own nuclear DNA had been removed. Dr David King, director of Human Genetics Alert stated: "By creating a child with three genetic parents, these scientists are taking the first step towards genetic engineering of human beings." [The Telegraph, 18 October ] SPUC has condemned a decision by the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners (RCGP) and of Physicians (RCP) to take a 'neutral' position on euthanasia. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's political secretary stated: "This is very frightening for patients and will do enormous harm to doctor/patient relationships... How can the doctors' professional bodies be neutral on the fundamental ethical question of whether or not doctors should kill their patients? Why have these two doctors' Royal Colleges ignored the Royal College of Nursing's consultation of nurses which received an 'overwhelming response' opposing the Bill and 'reaffirm the core principles which lie at the heart of nursing: valuing life and ensuring patients are well cared for'?" [SPUC, 15 October ] A group of UK scientists has urged the UN to ignore calls by President Bush to ban all forms of human cloning, BBC reports. The Royal Society is backing a Belgian proposal to ban so-called reproductive cloning only. [BBC, 17 October ] The UK Health Secretary has ordered an investigation of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service after it was revealed to be helping British women to obtain illegal abortions in Spain. The Chief Medical Officer will conduct the inquiry into the registered charity, which receives £12 million every year in funding from the National Health Service. The Charity Commission, which regulates charities in England and Wales, has asked to view the covert video evidence gathered by the two Sunday Telegraph reporters involved. [The Telegraph, 17 October ] Mr Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph, wrote: "I believe that in 80 years' time - and possibly sooner - the views of Dr Lee and Ms Furedi [abortion advocates] will seem as barbaric and bizarre as the advocacy of slavery and forcible sterilisation seems to us today. If this newspaper has played a part in that process, and brings forward by one day the end of this slaughter of the innocents, then we will have done something good." [The Telegraph, 17 October ] Jersey's Health and Social Services have said that they are considering amending the island's abortion law of 1997 to permit abortion in cases of foetal abnormality. [This is Jersey, 16 October ] The vice-president of the Pontifical Academy for Life has called recent European Council votes on sexual health issues "worrisome" and "not very democratic". Bishop Elio Sgreccia was commenting on a resolution on reproductive health that was passed by the Council of Europe in the absence of many European deputies, with minimal discussion. [CWNews, 15 October ]

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