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Defending life from the moment of conception

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5 January 2005

5 January 2005

5 January 2005 The Life organisation, based in Warwickshire, England, has criticised the UK government's Mental Capacity Bill, saying: "The bill was drafted so as to allow deliberate killing by omission - denial of food and water - despite repeated complaints that it opened the back door to euthanasia."

In a statement, the group recalled how, in 1967, people had been reassured that the legalisation of abortion would not "open the floodgates", yet it had done just that. Mr Andy King, MP for Rugby and Kenilworth, said: "There are times when people don't want to feel like they are a burden any more. They may say things, but what they really want is to be made to feel worthwhile".

[Leamington Spa Today, 4 January ] The Bill is presently between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Easy access to morning-after pills does not affect the extent to which women have sex without using contraception, claims a study performed in the US by the University of California. The head of the research team concluded that more effort was needed to make what she called contraception [possibly including abortifacient birth control such as morning-after pills] more easily available.

Morning-after pills are available without prescription in six American states.

[Reuters, 5 January ] Dr David Paton of Nottingham University Business School has found evidence that greater access to so-called 'family planning services' is associated with an actual increase in teenage pregnancies.

Scientists from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Massachusetts claim that a urine test can diagnose potentially life-threatening pregnancy complications.

In the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr Ananth Karumanchi writes: "Diagnosing this condition earlier could help women with pre-eclampsia avoid major complications. A urine test could help predict the onset of this disease one to two months before the onset of clinical symptoms."

[Daily Telegraph, 5 January ] A woman in Scotland surprised doctors when she conceived and gave birth to a healthy boy after having cancer treatment which had been thought to have made her infertile.

The un-named woman from east Scotland was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma aged 14.

Dr Hamish Wallace of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, said: "We were very concerned that she would not be able to have her own baby because of her treatment and the hormone tests were showing her that her ovaries had packed up."

[Herald, 5 January ] Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth, Australia, has called on Christian churches to unite on family and life issues, claiming that a unified message will have a greater impact on society.

In his Christmas message he said: "A big part of society's problem has been the failure of Christian churches to speak with one voice on the crucial moral issues about human life."

[LifeSite, 4 January ] A group of researchers in Taiwan say they have isolated multipotent cells from a human placenta, which could be a new source of stem cells and could provide an ethical alternative to embryonic stem cells.

The placenta-derived cells might be used in the treatment of patients with brain damage or bone fractures.

It is estimated that it will take 10 years before the technology can be used commercially.

[Taipei Times, 5 January ] US government researchers have reported that the exposure of pregnant women to high levels of air pollution can adversely affect their children's birth-weight. [Reuters, 4 January ]

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