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Defending life from the moment of conception

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13 January 2005

13 January 2005

13 January 2005 SPUC campaigners in Sunderland will be holding a meeting for parents later this month to raise awareness about the provision of abortion to underage girls, Sunderland Today reports.

Government guidelines emphasise that under-16s can undergo abortions without parental knowledge or consent.

Margaret Mendez, chair of Sunderland's SPUC branch commented: "Under the age of 16 a person cannot legally drink, drive or smoke, yet they are considered mature enough to make life-changing decisions like this without consulting their parents."

The meeting in Grangetown on the 24 January will be addressed by Dr Chris Richards, a consultant paediatrician from Newcastle.

[Sunderland Today, 12 January ] The Human Fertility and Embryology Authority has launched a public consultation into whether factors such as age and marital status should be taken into account by clinics when deciding whether or not to offer a couple IVF treatment.

IVF clinics are supposed to take the child's welfare into account when making decisions but in reality couples are rarely turned away.

Other factors are being considered such as previous criminal convictions involving children, the life expectancy of a potential parent and the stability of the family unit into which the child will be born.

[The Guardian, 13 January ] An Australian IVF clinic has written to 25 male MPs asking them to become sperm donors.

The Monash clinic expressed hope that the stunt would encourage other donors as sperm stocks have dwindled since the removal of donor anonymity.

No MPs have responded to the request as yet.

[Reuters, 13 January ] The National Birth and Motherhood Survey 2005, conducted for the Mother and Baby magazine, has suggested that many women are unprepared for the realities of childbirth.

A third of the 3000 women questioned said that antenatal classes had not adequately prepared them, three quarters said that labour was 'more painful than they ever imagined' whilst only five percent said that they had a 'completely natural' birth.

A quarter said that they were not given any information during labour and birth, and the average time women were left unattended during labour was an hour and 21 minutes.

[The Guardian, 13 January ] A woman from Connecticut has given birth after being inseminated with the wrong sperm. Laura Howard sued her IVF clinic after being informed of the mistake which her lawyer said had 'made her life much more complicated in terms of her relationship with her fiancé.' She is however reported to be 'thrilled' with the baby.

[Reuters, 12 January ] Whilst the Brazilian Congress debates the legalisation of embryonic stem cell research, the president of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference has criticised scientists who 'sell hopes to a whole list of seriously ill people, as if, once the law is approved, effective therapies will at once be able to take place.'

Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo accused scientists with commercial interests of 'selling hopes', commenting that, unlike adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells have yet to be successfully applied for therapeutic purposes.

[CWNews, 11 January ] Boston Magazine has published an article entitled 'Confessions of an Abortion Doctor' written by an abortionist who asked for her name to be withheld for alleged safety reasons.

In the article, she claims that abortionists believe that their work is 'a good thing' and that she has 'the utmost respect for life', writing: "I appreciate that life starts early in the womb, but also believe that I'm ending it for good reasons."

She expressed frustration at the shortage of abortion providers and revealed that some abortionists lie to their families about the kind of work they are involved in. [CWNews, 12 January , and Boston Magazine ]


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