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Defending life
from conception to natural death


19 July 2005

19 July 2005

19 July 2005 SPUC has said that today's debate in Parliament on abortion has revealed an agenda for easier and more frequent abortions.

Dr Evan Harris MP (Liberal Democrat) led an adjournment debate in Westminster Hall, in which he called for abortion law and practice to be relaxed alongside a parliamentary inquiry into the upper time-limit for late abortions.

Dr Harris called first-trimester abortions to be made easier, for the safeguard of two doctors' signatures for abortions to be abolished, for chemical abortions (using RU486) to be permitted at home ("bedroom abortions"), and for the 1967 Abortion Act to be extended to Northern Ireland. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented after today's debate: "Caroline Flint, the minister replying on behalf of the Government, ominously told the House that the Government is 'putting a lever on primary care trusts' to reduce waiting times for abortions and is currently trialing 'bedroom abortions'. The Government will be only too happy to agree with Parliament's pro-abortion majority if it votes to liberalise abortion, as the Government is concerned about NHS performance targets, not protecting unborn children or vulnerable women."

[SPUC, 19 July ] An Ulster woman has given birth to the UK's first 'designer baby', the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Last September, the HFEA relaxed its rules in order to allow new-born Jodie Fletcher's parents to use embryo-screening to ensure her mother gave birth to a child who would be a genetic match for her brother Joshua, who suffers from diamond blackfan anaemia.

The Fletchers hope it will now be possible to treat him with stem cells taken from Jodie's umbilical cord blood. Mrs. Fletcher told interviewers: "We really wanted this baby and we are delighted it is a girl and she is healthy. She is a normal healthy blossoming baby."

[Belfast Telegraph, 18 July ] Health authorities in Tamil Nadu State, India have agreed to sponsor reversal operations for sterilised couples who lost all their children in the tsunami. 6,000 people died at Nagapattin, of whom at least one third were children.

Many of the parents now seeking reversal operations had been sterilised under government population control programmes which offered financial incentives for couples who underwent sterilisation.

[The Guardian, 18 July ] A Mexican pro-life group, Culture of Life, has filed a lawsuit at Mexico's supreme court challenging a new law requiring all government-run clinics and hospitals to dispense 'emergency contraception' (morning-after pills).

Culture of Life bases its challenge on the fact that the Mexican constitution protects life from conception and morning-after pills can cause early abortions, as well preventing conception.

[Medical News Today, 17 July ] Marie Stopes International and the lobbying group Abortion Rights are launching a campaign against GPs who refuse to refer for abortion. Marie Stopes wants GP surgeries to display notices giving the names of any GPs who will not refer for abortions.

Abortion Rights is urging women to report GPs who refuse to give them the name of another doctor who will refer for abortion to the doctors' statutory registration body, the General Medical Council , for contravention of GMC guidelines.

Dr Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship indicated that any GPs so referred would defend themselves strongly.

[The Times, 17 July ] According to research carried out by Silvia Pezzini of the London School of Economics, the two factors contributing most to women's increased wellbeing are the availability of contraception and access to abortion.

The study, published in the Royal Economic Society's Economic Journal, was based on data collected from 12 European countries, and claims birth control has enhanced women's 'life satisfaction' by enabling them to earn more and spend longer in education.

The study also suggested that increased maternity leave rights have negative effects for women, since they make employers less willing to employ women of childbearing age.

[The Times, 17 July ] Another baby-trafficking gang has been exposed by the police in China's Henan province.

According the report, baby-trafficking is booming in China, largely as a result of the one-child policy.

Couples may buy baby boys rather than risk having a girl, or use the illegal trade as a way of circumventing the laws against more than one pregnancy.

Some parents, worried about the gender imbalance caused by widespread female infanticide, are buying baby girls to ensure a future bride for their son. Traffickers may now pay up to £75 for a boy and £40 for a girl.

About 3,500 children were rescued from traffickers last year.

[The Times, 19 July ] The makers of the abortion pill RU-486 (known as Mifeprex/Mifepristone) have reported the deaths of five women after using the drug in four years.

Danco Laboratories are sending a letter to physicians alerting them to these cases, and updating warning information on the label.

Danco insisted that 'no causal relationship between these events' and Mifeprex/Mifepristone has been established. [Reuters, 19 July ]

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