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21 December 2005

21 December 2005

21 December 2005 A study has shown that more "unwanted" pregnancies in the US are resulting in births.

The National Centre for Health Statistics carried out a survey, which showed that 14% of participants' recent births were "unwanted" at conception.

In 1995, 9% of participants' births were "unwanted" at conception.

This suggests a decrease in abortion, which is supported by research carried out by the Alan Guttmacher Institute. This showed that in 1995, 26 out of every 100 pregnancies that ended in birth or abortion, ended in abortion.

In 2002, 24 ended in abortion. Pro-life groups in America have welcomed the news; Susan Wills, associate director for education for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities , said the data showed "a real pro-life shift."

[Baltimore Sun and Kaiser Network , 20 December] Paul Tully of SPUC commented: "This study contradicts the assumption that abortion can only be reduced by cutting unwanted conceptions.

It suggests that abortions are decreasing because fewer 'unwanted' or 'unintended' pregnancies are leading to abortions, and the assumption that women will seek abortions illegally or go abroad rather than change their attitude to having a baby is wrong."

The Times reports that a survivor of the Indian Ocean tsunami has given birth to a girl after undergoing surgery to reverse a tubectomy. Agnes Raj, 26, lost all four of her children in the tsunami.

More than 2,500 children in Tamil Nadu, where Mrs Raj and her husband live, were killed in the tsunami. The state is now offering free operations to reverse vasectomies and tubectomies.

[The Times, 21 December ] Note: It is not clear from the report whether the free operations are available to some or all people in Tamil Nadu, or only to those who lost children in the tsunami.

The two major conservative parties in Germany have announced that they plan to lower the time limit for abortions.

The Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Socialist Union aim to "change the scandalous practice" of abortions after 23 weeks into a pregnancy, according to the parties' spokesman for women's affairs, Johannes Singhammer.

He said: "No sensible human being can remain calm when a child, which could live, is aborted shortly before its birth, just because it is handicapped.

We must urgently rethink the value of life." Abortion is technically illegal in Germany, but abortion is widely tolerated.

[LifeSite, 20 December ] The Australian government is considering lifting its ban on therapeutic cloning.

At present, only "spare" embryos created through IVF may be used for stem cell research.

An independent committee, which has been reviewing the law, has called for therapeutic cloning to be permitted in Australia.

There is likely to be a vote in parliament on the issue in the New Year. [Research, 20 December ]


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