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Defending life from the moment of conception

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15 February 2005

15 February 2005

15 February 2005 The Family Planning Association has called for sex education to be made compulsory in primary and secondary schools.

The FPA released a survey it commissioned on the attitudes of young people to sex and claimed that 76% of 18-to-24-year-olds agree with abortion and 63% regard the morning after pill as beneficial to women.

[The Scotsman, 14 February ] The UN Secretary General's advisory committee have released the Millennium Project Report, which states that "ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health... is essential to the attainment of many" Millennium Development Goals.

The report is accompanied by 13 task force reports, including the Task Force on Gender Equality, which has stated that "at a minimum, national public health systems must provide quality family planning, safe abortion and emergency obstetric services."

The UN Development Fund for Women has stated that the Millennium Development Goals should be used as "a new vehicle for CEDAW and Beijing implementation". [C-Fam, 11 February ] A study published in the Journal of Genetic Psychology has found that twins created through IVF tend to be smaller than twins conceived naturally.

According to the research, conducted by Kristine Anthis, assistant psychology professor at Southern Connecticut State University and Lisa Kelly-Vance, associate professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska, the difference disappears by the age of two but IVF twins remain physically underdeveloped in other areas such as coordination and body control.

[Medical News Today, 14 February ] Members of the North-East of England business community have claimed that a campaign against embryo research in the area could harm the local economy.

The Lawyers' Christian Fellowship have applied for a judicial review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's decision to grant the Newcastle Centre for Life a licence to clone human embryos for research purposes.

Scientists for the Centre for Life have said that 80% of patients at the Newcastle Fertility Centre have agreed to donate eggs and embryos for research. [icnewcastle, 14 February ] A woman who was in a coma for 20 years after a traffic accident has started talking to people, reports.

Sarah Scantlin was 18 when she had the accident and her family were told that she was in a vegetative state and would never communicate again.

Dr James Dobson of Focus on the Family said that the case proves why Terri Schiavo should be allowed to live.

He said: "Terri Schiavo deserves the same chance at life that Sarah Scantlin was given... Mental disabilities do not damage a person's worth - the preciousness of life is not defined by one's abilities."

[, 14 February ] Australia's Cardinal George Pell has said that the Church will intensify its lobbying efforts for a ban on the use of 'spare' IVF embryos for research purposes.

The law permitting this practice is said to be up for review this year.

The Sydney Archdiocese is also expected to double its financial contribution to adult stem cell research.

[Cathnews, 11 February ] The Secretary General of the Spanish bishops' conference has spoken against proposed changes to Spain's assisted reproduction laws. Father Juan Martinez Camino said that the creation of 'designer babies' was 'eugenics' and would result in the deaths of many human embryos.

He said of the human embryo: "It is a human body distinct from father and mother, and it has the right to life, and I cannot sacrifice it for anything, even to save the world."

[CWNews, 14 February ] Pro-Life Mexico is organising a march to try to persuade Mexican women not to cross the border into the US to obtain abortions. Many Mexicans seek abortions in El Paso, Texas, where some 70 abortions take place every week. [CWNews, 14 February ]

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