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Defending life from the moment of conception

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100,000 women using Ireland's crisis pregnancy helpline

11 April 2006

In the last three years, 100,000 women in Ireland are said to have used a state-funded mobile phone text service that provides information about crisis pregnancies. The text service is part of a campaign by the Crisis Pregnancy Agency (CPA) called Positive Options, which is supposed to provide women who have crisis pregnancies with options other than abortion. Women can text a national number to receive a list of six agencies that advise on pregnancy, including Life and the adoption charity Pact. However, the Irish Family Planning Association and other pro-abortion groups are also included on the list. The agency recently received a Public Service Excellence Award for this campaign. [Irish Examiner, 10 April] Patrick Buckley of European Life Network in Dublin said: "The CPA was set up by the Irish Government to assist women with crisis pregnancies and in order to reduce the number of women travelling to the UK for abortions. The agency has no specific policies to assist in bringing this about and has become part of the problem rather than the solution. The CPA has not fulfilled its mandate, is undeserving of any award and should be scrapped before it does any more damage."

Most British care homes are not giving adequate care to the dying, according to a government study. 99% of care homes have not revised their procedures for looking after the dying, despite guidelines issued a year ago as part of a £12m three-year NHS end of life care programme. These guidelines set out the standards of treatment that should be carried out for dying patients and also advise on how to involve families in decisions before death as well as detailing a new written statement that patients can make about where they wish to die. [The Guardian, 11 April]

A British IVF clinic is launching a campaign calling for more women to become egg donors. Bourn Hall in Cambridgeshire is hoping that the Easter Dozen appeal will attract at least 12 donors. A spokesman said last year 27 women had volunteered to donate eggs, compared to 42 the previous year. [BBC News, 10 April]

An American woman who survived an attempted abortion was due to speak against abortion in northern England today. Gianna Jessen was aborted in 1977 but the saline solution injected into her mother's womb did not kill her and she was born alive in the abortion clinic. Miss Jessen has cerebral palsy as a result of the abortion but is able to walk, despite doctors predicting that she would be wheelchair-bound. She will be speaking twice at the Civic Hall in Leeds at an event organised by local Catholics and pro-life groups and supported by Rt Rev Arthur Roche, Catholic Bishop of Leeds. [BBC News, 11 April]

The American Food and Drug Administration has claimed that the death of a woman who died after taking the abortion pill RU-486 was not a result of the drug. Spokesmen from the FDA said RU-486 (mifepristone, mifegyne) was proved not to be the cause of the woman's death, which happened in March, but that they are still investigating a second woman who died at the same time, also after taking the drug. [Medical News Today, 10 April]

The American hospice movement has grown rapidly in recent years, according to the US-based National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. In 2004, more than 1 million people in the US received hospice care, a rise of 51% from 2000. Financial support from the government and from Medicare, the US health insurance for the elderly, has helped the movement to care for more and more people with terminal illnesses in their last days. [Reuters, 10 April]

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