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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Court blocks abortion on mentally disabled women after lawyers exposed lying about pregnancy length

23 August 2006

An Argentine court has blocked moves to perform an abortion on a mentally disabled woman who conceived a child after allegedly being raped. A federal court in Mendoza ruled that the abortion was not to take place after pro-life groups revealed that she was in her 20th week of pregnancy, not her 12th as the woman's lawyers claimed. The groups said in a joint statement: "If, as has been publicly said, the purpose here is to protect the health of the mother, it is obvious that an abortion at such a late stage in the pregnancy would seriously complicate the health of the woman and would pose a risk to her life." [Life Site, 22 August]

A birth control scheme which involves giving out the abortifacient morning after pill outside school gates is to be used as an example. The Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Partnership, run by Gateshead local council in the north of England, made news headlines last September, when it was revealed that Angela Star, one of the workers, had given a girl a hormonal birth control injection in a McDonald's lavatory. The council has now claimed that the scheme has been "highly successful" and is to be used more widely in the UK. [The Independent, 23 August]

A church is being built in Siberia to commemorate aborted children and to celebrate liturgy for them. The Orthodox church, which is being built in Iurga in southern Siberia, is expected to be finished next summer. It was the initiative of the parish priest Fr Konstantin, who recalled the murder of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem killed by Herod in the time of Jesus. [Zenit, 22 August]

The children of a comatose American woman are fighting a hospital's decision to remove their mother's life-saving treatment. Ruthie Webster, 61, who suffered a bad reaction while undergoing kidney dialysis in June, is comatose but not brain dead and can breathe on her own. The Regency Hospital in North Dallas, Texas, told her family that they would end life-preserving dialysis for their mother, as there had been "no appreciable change" in her condition. Her children maintain that Mrs Webster, a devout Baptist, firmly believed that only God has the right to take life and that such a decision is a violation of her religious rights. Her daughter Helena Webster Hill said: "My mother, she's breathing on her own, just like you and I are today. As long as she's fighting to live, we believe we ought to stand with her and fight with her." [Life Site, 21 August]

The Bulgarian government is to target high abortion rates in an attempt to tackle the under-population problems in the country. In 2001, three were 750 abortions to every 1,000 births. Recent figures showed that 40% of women in Bulgaria have had an abortion, compared to between 20% and 30% in most industrialised countries. The cabinet has approved a strategy to reduce the number of abortions, lower infant mortality rates and raise literacy levels by 2020. [Life News, 17 August]

China's one-child policy has led to an ageing population and serious labour shortages that could undermine the country's recent economic growth, according to a Chinese newspaper. The China Youth Daily cited a government report as saying that incomes have not risen fast enough to support the increasing number of pensioners in the country. The newspaper said: "In the not too distant future there will be a day when there is an end to the unlimited labour supply. It is this that had been one of the most basic advantages of China's recent economic development." [Reuters, 20 August]

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