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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Fears grow for Chen Guangcheng, imprisoned by Chinese state police

4 April 2006

A Chinese man, who has been campaigning against abuses in the one-child policy, has now been missing for over 20 days. Chen Guangcheng, who is blind, had been collecting evidence of forced abortions and sterilisations in Shandong Province and had been planning a lawsuit against the Chinese government. He was arrested on 11 March and has not been heard of since. Two of his brothers, Chen Guangyu and Chen Guangjun have also been arrested but their families have been told where they are being held. The whereabouts of Chen Guangcheng is still unknown. The Chinese authorities have begun a campaign of intimidation in Guangcheng's home village, urging the villagers through a loudspeaker to "expose and denounce" Chen Guancheng and keeping a close surveillance on members of his family, especially his wife, Yuan Weijing. They have allegedly told his mother that he is being tortured. [The Epoch Times, 2 April]

A Ghanaian man who forced his wife to have an illegal abortion, which resulted in her death, has been arrested, according to a report on the Ghana web news site. Lilian Apati, 32, mother of six, did not want to abort her seventh child but her husband, John Ave, decided that they could not afford to feed seven children and so gave her a large sum of money to have the abortion in July 2004. After having the abortion, Mrs Apati complained of severe pain and as her condition worsened, she was taken to hospital where she died on arrival. Abortion is restricted in Ghana and allowed only under certain circumstances. [Ghana Web, 1 April]

At least 20 newborn babies are found dead in the capital of Zimbabwe every week, according to council workers. As famine in the country increases due to the government seizure of 95% of commercial farms, more and more mothers are abandoning their children in desperation, as they cannot feed them. The number of malnourished children in city hospitals has dramatically increased. James Elder, spokesman for Unicef in Zimbabwe, said, "It doesn't need to be this way. The people of Zimbabwe need more than the world's outrage; they need the world's support." [The Sunday Times, 2 April]

An American scientist has allegedly said that the solution to overpopulation is to exterminate 90% of the human race. Speaking to colleagues and students at the Texas Academy of Science last month, Eric R. Pianka, a lizard expert from the University of Texas, is said to have recommended that the human population be reduced to 10% of its current size by the deadly virus Ebola. According to another member of the Texas Academy for Science, Forrest Mimms III, who has told his story in the latest edition of the journal Citzen Scientist, Mr Pianka's speech was greeted with a standing ovation and he subsequently received the award 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist. Mr Pianka is also quoted as praising China's one-child policy, saying, "Smarter people have fewer kids." [World Net Daily, 2 April]

A writer in the Times has called for the legalisation of sex-selection abortion in India. In a commentary article, Caitlin Moran said that if there were fewer women in India, they would be appreciated more and so sexism would be reduced. She also observed that if first trimester abortion is legal, there is no logical reason why sex selection abortion should be illegal. [The Times, 3 April]

We apologise for a misleading report in last Thursday's news summary. The item on the investigation by Ukrainian doctors Vadym Lazaryev and Vladymyr Ishchenko contained several errors. The doctors were not supported by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, whose concerns were expressed separately in relation to disappearances of newborns and trafficking. The two doctors were conducting an investigation independently into payments made to women undergoing abortions. We said that they had initially also been supported by the Ukrainian government. This was incorrect. The independent investigation was carried out with full police knowledge and Channel 5 were involved in making a documentary about the investigation. When the doctors discovered that these practices had high level government sanction, they were advised to stop. An attempt was subsequently made on their lives and they fled the Ukraine. The television documentary was screened after their departure.

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