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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 13 to 18 April 2006

18 April 2006

Weekly Update, 13 to 18 April 2006 The Board of Amnesty International UK (AIUK) has submitted a resolution to its 2007 international conference to include abortion in its policy on sexual and reproductive rights.

The resolution states that AIUK supports research and action to achieve the, "decriminalisation of abortion," "access to quality services for the management of complications arising from abortion" and "legal, safe and accessible abortion in cases of rape, sexual assault, incest and risk to a woman's life."

The decision to submit the resolution was made at AIUK's AGM held at the University of Warwick, despite the efforts of pro-life members to persuade delegates to vote for a neutral policy on abortion.

[Michael Hill, SPUC, 13 April] A British woman who killed her newborn son after giving birth to him in secret was set free yesterday.

Beverly West, 21, from Buckie, Banffshire, had agreed with her boyfriend that she would have an abortion but found that her pregnancy was too far advanced.

She admitted to smothering the baby as soon as he was born.

Ms West was not given the prison sentence usual in the case of culpable homicide, as the judge at Edinburgh High Court said that personality disorders caused her to react abnormally to the situation.

Lord Hodge said she had "violated the sanctity of human life." She was given a community service order and required to receive psychiatric treatment.

[Daily Record, 13 April ] Congenital disabilities caused by the rubella virus have been almost eradicated in the US, according to a statement published in the American journal, Birth Defects Research Part A.

A Rubella epidemic caused the deaths of 11,000 unborn children in America in the 1960s and resulted in 20,000 babies being born with conditions such as blindness, deafness and congenital heart disease.

A vaccine, introduced in the 1970s, has since helped practically to eliminate the spread of the disease in America.

[Medical News Today, 12 April ] Comment: Rubella vaccine has sparked controversy in some countries as tissue derived from aborted infants has been used to develop and produce some strains of vaccine.

A psychologist has reiterated his view that children can never experience pain before birth.

Dr Stuart Derbyshire, told the British Medical Journal that unborn babies' minds are not mature enough to sense trauma until after the baby has left the womb and starts to interact.

His claim follows a study by University College Hospital, London, which contended that babies born at 25 weeks do feel pain outside the womb.

Pro-life groups have said that pain is not the central issue. Paul Danon from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said, "Is it right to murder somebody if you anaesthetise them first?"

[Mirror, 14 April ] Dr Derbyshire, who is from Britain and now works at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, co-wrote an article with leading pro-abortion campaigner Ann Furedi in 1996 arguing that babies cannot feel pain until they begin to socialise.

China will experience more crime in the future, due to the country's one child policy, according to an American professor of political science.

Valerie Hudson, professor at Brigham Young University in Utah said in a television interview that there would be a "surplus" of 30 million men by 2020 and that many will remain bachelors all their lives because of the lack of women.

Ms Hudson, who has co-authored a book investigating the security implications of the one-child policy, said that single young men were more likely to become criminals than married men: "When there are more men than women, social instability and crime increases in society... When men have been pretty extreme criminals, upon marriage and when the children begin to come, their criminal careers more or less end." She blamed the one-child policy for China's gender imbalance, saying, "I don't think the Chinese government can really tackle the roots of the entrenched son preference until it raises that ceiling on the number of children a couple can have."

[Deseret Morning News, 17 April ] The founder of the Swiss clinic for assisted suicide, Dignitas, has said that people who have long-term depression should be able to choose to die.

Ludwig Minelli said that terminal illness should not be the only reason that a person is helped to die and that depression could be a reason.

Brian Iddon, a British MP and chairman of the Care Not Killing alliance, said: "People recover from mental illness - that's certainly not the time to be making a decision about whether to live or die." [The Guardian, 17 April ]

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