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Chen Guangcheng jailed for four years

25 August 2006

A prominent Chinese opponent of forced abortion has been jailed for four years. Chen Guangcheng was convicted of damaging property and disrupting traffic, charges which Mr Guangcheng's supporters believe were trumped up. Mr Guangcheng, who is blind, was tried without his lawyers present and his family was not notified of the verdict. Xu Zhiyong, Mr Guangcheng's advocate, said: "We'll certainly appeal against the sentence. Chen Guangcheng is adamant that he's innocent...The trial was absurd, and now to have such a heavy sentence delivered this way is just unacceptable". [The Epoch Times, 24 August]

The first legal abortion has been undertaken in Colombia this week. The Colombian government passed a law in May allowing abortion in three circumstances: danger of death to the mother, serious foetal disability, or pregnancy as a result of rape. This case involved an 11-year-old girl who allegedly had been raped by a close relative, and even though such a circumstance is included in the recently passed law, the case was sent to the highest court in Colombia. The Catholic Church has condemned this abortion, and the passing of the pro-abortion law. [BBC, 25 August]

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed the sale without prescription of the abortifacient morning-after pill. The FDA, and President George W. Bush, came under intense pressure from the pro-life lobby in America not to take this step and thus make this abortifacient even easier to procure. There have also been serious issues raised as to the safety of the morning-after pill as it contains very high levels of the female fertility hormones, 50 times that contained in the mini-pill. [Reuters, 25 August]

A study undertaken in Montreal, Canada, has suggested that taking common painkillers during the first three months of pregnancy could increase the risk of foetal abnormalities. The study, by a team from St Justine Hospital, found that taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen increased the risk of the baby developing abnormalities, especially when taken around the time of conception or during the first three months. The study comes in the wake of another recent study which suggested that NSAIDs increased the risk of miscarriage. In Britain pregnant women are advised to take paracetamol instead of aspirin or ibuprofen. [Daily Mail, 25 August]

A fertility clinic in Albany, New York, has given a couple free IVF after they won an essay writing contest. The Albany In Vitro Fertilization Clinic launched a contest for couples to win free IVF at the clinic, which purportedly has a 40% success rate. The couples had to write essays on why they wanted a child, why they would make good parents, and related issues. Dr. Glenn McGee, director of the Alden March Bioethics Institute, said: "This is absolutely unethical...What are we telling them when we say they didn't win? When your story isn't persuasive enough does that mean that you don't deserve a child?" [WNYT, 23 August]

Rudy Giuliani, the pro-abortion former Mayor of New York, is the leading Republican presidential favourite, according to a recent opinion poll. The poll taken by the Des Moines Register of Iowa, the state in which one of the early presidential primaries is held, had Mr Giuliani at nearly double the support of even his closest rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona. Critics suggest that the reason for Mr Giuliani's lead is that he has much greater name recognition than any other hopeful, and other polls have suggested that 70% of Republican members are unlikely to vote for a candidate who did not share their position on abortion. [LifeNews, 23 August]

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