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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 16 to 22 August

22 August 2006

Weekly Update, 16 to 22 August Catholic doctors have spoken in the UN General Assembly promoting the rights of the disabled and calling for them to protected at the beginning and the end of life.

The International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations made the statement in response to the International Treaty on Disabilities.

They opposed the selective abortion of disabled unborn children, calling it "a heinous offence against humanity" and said that the term "reproductive rights" should not be linked to the prevention or treatment of disabilities.

They concluded: "The fundamental reproductive right is the right to be born."

[Zenit, 20 August ] The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have urged Amnesty International not to support abortion rights.

The press office of the episcopal conference sent a letter to Amnesty earlier this month, asking them to maintain their neutral stance on abortion.

The bishops said in their statement, "We urge Amnesty International to be comprehensive in its campaign to 'Protect the Human,' to include, therefore, the unborn as among the weakest and most vulnerable, and so remain true to its original vision."

[Zenit, 18 August ] China's one child policy is continuing to increase the country's gender imbalance, according to researchers.

A recent study by Qu Jian Ding of the Institute of Population Studies at Zhejiang University and Therese Hesketh of London's Institute of Child Health found that the male population increasingly outnumbers the female population, having risen from a ratio of 1.11 to 1 in 1980-89 to 1.23 to 1 in 1996-2001.

The authors of the study have recommended a relaxation of the one-child policy.

They said, "It is unlikely that a baby boom would result, and such a change in policy might help to correct the abnormal sex ratio."

[Yahoo News, 18 August ] A US Assistant Secretary of State has asked China to release a leading human rights advocate from custody.

Ms Ellen Sauerbrey, in charge of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration has asked Chinese officials to release Mr Chen Guangcheng who has been campaigning against China's one-child policy for many years.

Recently he sought to bring a class action lawsuit against the Chinese Government for infringement of human rights.

Ms Sauerbrey said: "For China's own reputation, ... our hope is just that if we keep a focus on the issue, that China will recognize that it is in their best interest to release this gentleman from jail".

[15 August, Medical News Today ] A Cambridgeshire hospice service which cares for the terminally ill and their families at home has lost its grant from the health service and is appealing for £175,000 to enable it to survive.

Nurse Margaret Banks said: "It can be very frightening when someone is dying at home. Hospice at Home gives support to families and helps them care for their loved ones." [Cambridge Evening News, 16 August ]

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