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Defending life
from conception to natural death


29 December 2005

29 December 2005

29 December 2005 Pope Benedict has described embryos as full and complete human beings.

Speaking in St Peter's square, Rome, yesterday (Wednesday), the pontiff quoted the part of Psalm 139 which says: "Thou didst see my limbs unformed in the womb, and in thy book they are all recorded." He added: "In the Lord's book of life, the days that this creature will live and will fill with works during his time on earth are already written."

At Christmas-eve Mass the Pope had said that God's love shone on all children, including the unborn. [Reuters, 28 December ] The Pope is also reported as having said that abortion and embryo manipulation amounted to murder.

[Irish Examiner, 29 December ] The number of abortions in Spain rose by more than 70% between 1995 and 2004 according to a report in the Guardian. Among women in their 20s the rate reportedly doubled during that period.

Of the 85,000 women who had abortions last year, more than one in seven was a teenager.

A parent-teacher organisation has called for better sex education.

The Science Research Council in Madrid said economic problems were partly responsible for the increase in abortions.

[The Guardian, 28 December ] The scientist who cloned the first mammal has suggested that stem cell therapies should be tested on terminally ill people.

Dr Ian Wilmut of Edinburgh University, Scotland, says some people will die before they can benefit from the treatments and would want to try them.

Tests of the therapies on animals are reportedly incomplete.

[The Guardian, 28 December ] Comment: SPUC's Paul Tully noted: "Dr Wilmut appears to be making ambiguous and provocative statements, perhaps in reaction to the resignation in disgrace of Korea's official 'Top Scientist', Dr Hwang Woo-Suk, who made false claims about human stem cells."

The number of babies born in the USA after artificial conception (mostly IVF) has been rising. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that more than 48,000 such children were born in 2003, some five percent more than the year before.

When women used their own fresh eggs, about 28% of artificial reproductive procedures resulted in a birth. The likelihood of a birth declined with the mother's age. The CDC report covered some 400 clinics.

[CDC on Medical News Today, 28 December ] Britain's Equal Opportunities Commission says that women experience discrimination at work because of pregnancy. A report suggests that more than half of pregnant women in Scotland have suffered in this way and that, nationally, most women do not seek help when discriminated against. [The Herald, 29 December ]

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