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Defending life from the moment of conception

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14 October 2005

14 October 2005

14 October 2005 The parents of Charlotte Wyatt have returned to the High Court in an attempt to overturn last year's ruling that doctors may refuse ventilation to Charlotte if she develops a lung infection.

Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt's legal representative described considerable improvements in the condition of the 23-month old, who has already outlived original prognoses and may be well enough to go home next March.

The consultant treating Charlotte acknowledges that there might now be a situation in which it is appropriate to give ventilation, but maintains the need for legal endorsement in case medical staff should decide at any point, against the parents' wishes, that ventilation should not be given.

[The Guardian, 14 October ] A woman in Pittsburgh, USA, has been arrested after attempting to steal an unborn child from its mother's womb.

Peggy Jo Conner abducted Valerie Oskin, who was in her third trimester of pregnancy, and attacked her with a knife, attempting to cut the foetus from her womb.

Passers-by intervened and Ms Oskin was taken to hospital and her baby delivered by Caesarean section. Conner is charged with attempted homicide and aggravated assault of an unborn child.

[The Scotsman, 14 October ] Research carried out at the University of Lund, Sweden, suggests that children conceived by IVF have higher long-term health risks than naturally conceived children.

Dr.Bengt Kallen reported in Fertility and Sterility that IVF children were nearly twice as likely as other children to require hospitalization during a median observation period of 5.5 years, the risk being particularly high among children of multiple births.

[Reuters Health, 13 October ] A legal investigation has been ordered into cases of suspected euthanasia in a New Orleans hospital during Hurricane Katrina.

The State Attorney General is launching an enquiry into forty-five deaths at Memorial Medical Centre, after testimony from doctors at the hospital.

Dr.Bryant King told CNN that he saw staff entering wards with syringes after a discussion about euthanasia and telling patients: 'I'm going to give you something to make you feel better.' He said there was ten times the usual number of deaths over the following day and night.

[The Times, 14 October ] A mother who was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant has been told she has two years to live, unless she can find £48,000 for a potentially life-saving drug not available on the NHS.

Mrs Newbery, of Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, is fighting the decision.

Had she agreed to an abortion when first diagnosed, she could have received treatment immediately but she carried her daughter to term and gave birth by Caesarean section.

She said: 'I couldn't give up on her. She's our miracle baby. It was only because I was having her that I found out I had cancer.'

[Cambridge Evening News, 13 October ] Sex-selective abortion and infanticide in India have led to a serious gender imbalance, a UNFPA report has warned, with female-male birth ratios as low as 800-1000 in several regions.

A tradition of low female status is partly to blame for the 60 million 'missing' girls, as is pressure to achieve the perfect family of one boy and one girl promoted by the two-child population policy.

The resulting shortage of women often leads to sexual abuse and exploitation of poorer women by rich families desperate to find wives. [Middle East Times, 13 October ]

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