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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Premature babies "experience genuine pain"

5 April 2006

Premature babies experience genuine pain, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers at University College London analysed brain scans of babies aged between 25 and 45 weeks from conception that were taken during blood tests. Professor Maria Fitzgerald, who led the research said: "We have shown for the first time that the information about pain reaches the brain in premature babies. Beforehand, although we could assume it, we did not know for sure that these babies could feel pain." [BBC News, 4 April] A spokesperson for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) commented: "If premature babies can feel pain, then so can unborn children, at least those of the same gestational age. It is extraordinary that anyone, let alone scientists, ever assumes that any human being cannot feel pain. The onus is on those who inflict injury, either in the name of therapy or in the case of abortion, to prove that in doing so they inflict no pain. Those who promote a right to abortion must confront the reality of what abortion does to unborn children."

The Spanish Catholic Bishops' Conference has condemned legislation being debated by the Spanish parliament that permits IVF and human cloning. The bishops have published a statement titled, "Some advice on the unlawfulness of artificial human reproduction and unjust practices authorised by a law which will regulate this in Spain." The document criticises IVF as an offence against human dignity and says that the unborn child should be respected: "The embryo deserves the same respect as a human person because it is not a thing, a mere conglomeration of living cells, it is a human life at the first stage." [Life Site, 4 April]

The Philippine Foundation for Breast Care has acknowledged that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer. It has become the eighth medical organisation to say that there is an increased risk of breast cancer after abortion. In a letter to the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, Cristina Santos, the president of the PFBC said, "[W]e acknowledge the abortion and breast cancer link based on the physiologic changes in the breast lobules of a woman who chose to deliberately interrupt her pregnancy and the risk for breast cancer this will pose to that woman." [Life News, 4 April]

The South Korean government is to spend $20 billion to combat the severe under-population in the country. According to the National Statistic Office, South Korea has the fastest ageing population in the world, as last year the number of births dropped to 476,000, contrasted to the 1 million births in 1970. In an attempt to limit population growth, abortion was legalised in 1973 and in 1984 the government ended maternity benefits for women who had a third child. The South Korean government is aiming to increase the number of births to 1.6 per woman by 2010. According to a Bloomberg report, they plan to spend the money on kindergarten costs, financial help for families with three or more children, day care centres and treatment to help infertile couples conceive. [Life News, 4 April]

Over 100,000 people have marched against abortion in the capital of Colombia, LifeSite reports. Prolifers gathered in the streets of Bogota on April 2nd to protest against a case currently before the Constitutional Court that could legalise abortion. [Life Site, 4 April] The peaceful protest centred around a statue of the Divine Child, which is venerated by thousands of Colombian Catholics. The theme of the protest was, "Defend the life of the unborn with me." The procession, which was organised by a community of Salesians in Colombia, ended with Mass celebrated by Cardinal Pedro Rubiano, Archbishop of Bogota. [Catholic News Agency, 13 March]

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