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Defending life from the moment of conception

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22 September 2005

22 September 2005

22 September 2005 The government's Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has published part of his report into the allegations against the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) by under-cover Sunday Telegraph reporters last year.

The report accepted the Sunday Telegraph's evidence that BPAS had given women the phone number of a Spanish clinic for late abortions on social grounds. Sir Liam called for BPAS to adopt stricter procedures.

The Public Health Minister, Caroline Flint said the report had exonerated BPAS, but the Crown Prosecution Service, which asked Sir Liam to suppress part of his report, has yet to decide whether it will bring criminal charges.

[BBC News, 21 September and Department of Health, 21 September ] Chinese officials who forced pregnant women to undergo abortions and sterilised couples who had more than two children have reportedly been sacked.

The report follows a campaign by pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng who is currently under house arrest for exposing the violations in the local area. He said that the number of officials dismissed falls far short of the number who should be punished.

[Reuters, 20 September ] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, said: "Local officials, who are themselves coerced by the Chinese state into coercing women to have abortions, are occasionally made scapegoats for international criticism of the one-child policy. The claims that China is working to eliminate coercion against women are nothing but window-dressing designed to allay the concerns of foreign investors. The indications are that, on balance, population control in China is more coercive than ever."

Leading obstetricians have warned that women who wait until late in life to have children are trying to fight nature and face disappointment and suffering.

They said: "Paradoxically, the availability of IVF may lull women into infertility while they wait for a suitable partner and concentrate on their careers and achieving security and a comfortable living standard." Peter Bowen-Simpkins, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: "The biological clock is one thing we cannot reverse or change. The message that needs to go out is 'don't leave it too late'."

[BBC News, 15 September ] The United States Administration has decided for the fourth consecutive year to withhold funds from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The US decided to withhold funding on the grounds that the UNFPA supports coercive abortions and sterilisations in China. The UNFPA has denied that this is the case and expressed disappointment that they would not receive the $34 million funding.

[Medical News Today, 17 September ] Dr Liam Fox, MP, who is running for leadership of the Conservative party, has expressed concern about the rate of abortion in Britain, and said he wants to see the time limit reduced.

It would be a matter of personal conscience for MPs he said. Dr Fox, a former GP, said: "I think that a society that actually aborts 180,000 unborn children every year is a society that needs to be asking a lot of questions about itself."

[Telegraph, 18 September ] SPUC comment: Public concern about the number of abortions focuses on statutory time limits.

But recent increases in the abortion rate are attributable to government policies, not legislation, which has not changed in recent years. . Pro-life lobbyists have been successful in getting language removed from the UN Millennium Development Summit document that would create a broad international right to abortion.

However, references to "sexual and reproductive rights" have been replaced with the term "reproductive health." Although an improvement, this means the document will be potentially dangerous, as pro-life activists fear that proponents of abortion would try to interpret it as broadly as possible.

[Life Site, 16 September ] People in the UK may soon be able to obtain fertility treatment that is illegal in Britain by visiting ships anchored off the coast.

This treatment would involve the use of anonymous donor sperm, which is forbidden in the UK.

The ships would operate under the law of the country whose flag they flew.

The ship scheme is supported by Cryos, the international sperm bank company based in Denmark. Similar ships have already been used to bring abortion to Ireland where abortion is illegal.

[BBC, 16 September ] A study of cancer patients who received adult stem cell transplants ten years ago has shown positive results.

Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Research Cancer Centre in America examined 137 patients and found that they were "largely indistinguishable" from the general population. 45,000 now receive adult stem cell transplants every year.

Adult stem cells are seen as the ethical alternative to embryonic stem cells.

[Life News, 19 September ] A leading pro-abortion group in America has said that it is opposing the nomination of John Roberts to be head of the Supreme Court after he refused to answer direct questions about abortion.

Planned Parenthood Federation says that it believes Roberts would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and that he "must be stopped".

Karen Pearl, interim president of Planned Parenthood said: "In light of this refusal to respond to direct questions about his commitment to [abortion], Planned Parenthood today announced its opposition to Roberts' confirmation as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court." [Life News, 15 September ]

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