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Defending life from the moment of conception

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1 July 2005

1 July 2005

1 July 2005 The British Medical Association has voted to drop its opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia.

The motion stated: "The BMA should not oppose legislation which alters the criminal law but should press for robust safeguards both for patients and for doctors who do not wish to be involved in such procedures."

[Daily Mail, 30 June ] In a press release, Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's Political Secretary stated: "This is very frightening for patients and will do enormous harm to doctor/patient relationships." He added: "How can the doctors' trade union be neutral on the fundamental ethical question of whether or not doctors should kill their patients?"

[SPUC press release, 30 June ] Amnesty International has drawn attention to the plight of a Chinese woman being detained in a 'Re-education through Labour' facility for opposing the one-child policy.

Mao Hengfeng has petitioned the authorities for years after she was forced into an abortion and dismissed from her job for breaking the one-child policy.

She has been detained on numerous occasions and is currently being held in Shanghai where she has been subjected to severe beatings, torture and solitary confinement.

[Amnesty International, 28 June ] The British Medical Association has voted against a motion to reduce the legal time limit for abortion to 20 weeks by 77%. Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the head of science and ethics at the BMA, described the vote as 'compassion winning out.'

John McQueen who proposed the motion said that with advances in medical care for premature babies, there should be a 'clear window' in time between the viability of the unborn child and the upper time limit for abortion.

[The Telegraph, 1 July ] SPUC is very wary of any upper limit abortion proposals being brought before the current Parliament.

The Government, including Patricia Hewitt the Health Minister, is clearly committed to making abortion on demand legally available in the early months of pregnancy.

The Government determines public policy on abortion and they command the majority in the House of Commons.

Upper limit legislation, albeit well-intentioned, will certainly end in abortion being made more widely available.

[SPUC source] A report by the Equal Opportunities Commission has suggested that nearly half of all pregnant British women experience discrimination at work every year.

Discrimination includes losing out on maternity pay and being forced out of their jobs.

Only about 3% of pregnant women who lose their jobs seek compensation through an employment tribunal.

The report recommends giving employers more financial help and advice in dealing with pregnancy at work.

[The Guardian, 30 June ] The Portuguese government has announced plans to hold a referendum next month on whether to legalise abortion.

In 1998, Portuguese voters narrowly defeated a similar referendum 51-49% and last year, Portugal's parliament voted against three separate proposals to legalise abortion. [, 29 June ]

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