16 February 2005
16 February 2005
16 February 2005 The Polish parliament has voted not to consider a controversial bill, which would have allowed abortion up to 12 weeks into pregnancy. It would also have made sex education a separate subject in primary schools and allowed young people to seek abortions without parental consent.
The Catholic Church and pro-life groups, widely supported by public opinion, opposed the bill, which had been proposed by the ruling Democratic Left Alliance. Consideration of the bill was defeated in parliament by 199 votes to 183.
[New Kerala, 15 February ] The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it will create a new panel to monitor drugs once they have been approved for the market, including the morning after pill and the abortion drug RU-486.
The aim is to update doctors and patients with information on risks and benefits of drugs as they become available. Pro-life groups are campaigning for the RU-486 pill to be taken off the market while its safety is examined and also over-the-counter sales of the morning after pill to be banned.
The FDA last month delayed its decision on whether to allow the morning after pill to be sold over the counter. [Lifenews.com, 15 February ] An American comedian is facing criticism after describing abortion as "a beautiful thing" in a comedy routine.
Pro-life groups have called for Chris Rock to be removed as host for this year's Academy Awards. Erik Whittington, director of American Life League's Rock for Life, said: "Rock's statement is repulsive.
In the name of comedy, he is making light of abortion -- a heinous act that violently takes the lives of preborn babies and traumatizes women. We are tired of the continued attempt to downplay abortion for what it really is".
[US Newswire, 15 February ] Two women in Birmingham have been arrested on suspicion of arranging an abortion for a patient carrying a 31-week-old unborn child. One of them, Dr Sami Adlakha, a GP, was recorded on audio and video by undercover reporters in November.
She said that the British Pregnancy Advisory (BPAS) had put her in contact with the abortion clinic that is being separately investigated for sending hundreds of women to a clinic in Spain to have illegal late term abortions.
[Hindustan Times, 15 February ] A study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in New York has shown that exposure of pregnant women to air pollution can damage the chromosome structure of unborn babies.
The pollutants considered included emissions from cars, trucks, bus engines, residential heating, power generation and tobacco smoking.
These pollutants can cross the placenta and reach the unborn child. Researchers studied 60 newborn babies and their mothers in urban areas in Manhattan. Kenneth Olden, the director of NIEHS, said: "This is the first study to show that environmental exposures to specific combustion pollutants during pregnancy can result in chromosomal abnormalities in foetal tissues."
[Medical News Today, 16 February ] The Department of Health has announced that teenage pregnancies have fallen by more than 25% since a new strategy to tackle the issue was launched in 2002.
The strategy aimed to reduce the number of unplanned births to teenage mothers and to provide support for teenage parents and their children. Dr Miriam McCarthy, chairwoman of the Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Implementation Group said, "In the past four years, teenage pregnancy rates have dropped considerably, with the most marked decrease occurring in the under-17 age group."
[BBC News, 16 February ] A blood test could replace amniocentesis as a way to detect genetic disorders in unborn children.
Conditions such as beta-thalassemia, which were previously not detected by routine blood scans, could now be identified.
Researchers at the University Women's Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, studied 32 women and found that trace fragments of foetal DNA can be separated from the mother's genetic material in her blood, allowing them to pinpoint single mutations in the baby's DNA. Nature.Com, 15 February.
A private human stem cell bank in America has more than doubled the number of stem cell lines available for research. 20 are from genetically flawed human embryos for the study of diseases.
The director of the institute said that stem cells are the best way of studying disease. [New Scientist, 15 February ] Doctors from the Radcliffe Institute in Oxford believe that older women are more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases and need to be informed of the risk. They claim that menopausal women have been "largely ignored in the field of sexual health" and are seen as a low-risk group.
However, from 2001 - 2003, the number of women over 40 with HIV rose by 2% - a figure that experts see as potentially dangerous.
[Pharmaceutical Marketing Live, 15 February ] The parents of Terri Schiavo are launching a public campaign in an attempt to save their daughter from being starved to death. Robert and Mary Schindler have asked pro-life activist Randall Terry to assist them and their campaigning aims to increase public support for Terri.
George Felos, the euthanasia advocate acting for Terri's estranged husband Michael, says he does not believe that the new efforts will be successful in overturning the Supreme Court's ruling.
However, the Schindlers refuse to give up hope and Terri's father thanked the pro-lifers who have been helping them.
[Lifenews.com, 15 February ] The US Supreme Court is planning an internal private discussion conference on how to handle a petition to reverse the Roe v Wade abortion law.
The petition has been launched by Operation Outcry, which includes Norma McCorvey, the former Roe of Roe v Wade.
The discussion conference is planned for 18 February and the results are to be made public on 22 February. [LifeSiteNews, 15 February ]