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Defending life from the moment of conception

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20 July 2005

20 July 2005

20 July 2005 The UK's public health minister has told parliament that she will contact Northern Ireland ministers about the matter of guidance for medical professionals on abortion in Northern Ireland.

[BBC, 19 July ] Liam Gibson of SPUC Northern Ireland said: "It is very worrying that the government appear to be promoting the idea that the law might need to be changed. Even the Family Planning Association, the leading promoter of abortion in Northern Ireland, has accepted that the law is clear. While the Court of Appeal directed the department of health to issue guidance to doctors and women, the judges also highlighted the suffering abortion causes and hoped that guidance would be aimed at reducing the number of abortions."

[SPUC, 20 July] Ms Caroline Flint, the minister, was speaking during a debate on abortion on which we reported and commented yesterday.

She said the government was not at the present moment minded to change to the abortion time-limit.

[Telegraph, 20 July ] There were just 12 MPs at the debate in the Westminster Hall chamber. Mr Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, suggested that more sex education led to more abortions.

[Times, 20 July ] Rt Rev Peter Smith, Archbishop of Cardiff, has warned of a hidden campaign by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society to get assisted suicide legalised in Britain. He told Vatican Radio that the society was infiltrating professional bodies such as the General Medical Council and the British Medical Association. He was concerned that some hospices were getting "very wobbly on this whole issue."

The church had to build a "strong coalition" with other groups to oppose the campaign. The archbishop was worried to hear rumours that the British government might give parliamentary time to Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill.

[Vatican Radio, 18 July] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's political secretary, said: "It is more than a rumour that the Government might allow parliamentary time for the Joffe bill. SPUC alerted people as long ago as mid-2003 that the Government had declared that it was not opposed to the bill. In early 2004, SPUC again expressed its concern that the Government was simply waiting for the opportune moment to accommodate the bill, when the Government went further by according the Joffe Bill the rare and helpful opportunity of a select committee. No one should hesitate to describe the Labour government, now the largest party in the House of Lords, as pro-euthanasia."

Dame Cicely Saunders, described as the founder of the worldwide hospice movement, died last week aged 87.

She started St Christopher's Hospice in south London in 1967.

[Telegraph, 15 July ] Mr John G. Roberts has been nominated by President Bush for the US supreme court, following intense speculation over whom he would select to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. Mr Roberts personal view on abortion is foremost among the issues that commentators are raising in the US media.

[NPR, 20 July] A member of the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has told a meeting of the committee that abortion is bad for women.

Ms Krisztina Morvai of Hungary hoped that abortion would become a thing of the past and considered as much an abuse of human rights as torture.

Ms Morvai was speaking at a session during which Ireland was reporting on women's rights, which the committee has taken as including abortion. Our source criticises Mr Frank Fahey, an Irish minister, for not dissenting from reports to the committee which call for legal abortion.

Mr Fahey reportedly said that his country would not hold another referendum on the matter.

[Irish Examiner, 20 July ] Women in Minnesota considering abortion after 20 weeks of gestation will have to be told about foetal pain and offered anaesthesia for their unborn children.

The state governor has approved a law which is binding on doctors.

[LifeSite, 19 July ] England's chief medical officer has called for more research on the increasing incidence of a prenatal condition which causes incomplete formation of the abdominal wall.

In his annual report, Sir Liam Donaldson mentions the trebling of the rate of gastroschisis.

There is speculation that it is caused by maternal use of aspirin, drugs or smoking.

[icWales, 20 July ] There are calls in England for all multi-vitamin products containing vitamin A to carry warning labels for pregnant women.

The BDF Newlife charity is involved in the call. Our source suggests the vitamin causes prenatal developmental problems.

[Scotsman, 20 July ] Research in Hawaii on rats suggests that taking choline in pregnancy can mitigate the ill effects of alcohol on the unborn.

Choline is derived from lecithin and other phospholipids in foods such as eggs and offal. [Medical News Today, 20 July ]

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