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Defending life
from conception to natural death


The UK region where a schoolgirl abortion happens EVERY DAY

25 July 2006

More than one schoolgirl per day has an abortion in one region of Britain. In the West Midlands, nearly 1,500 underage girls have had abortions in the last three years and there is a year on year 1000 increase in the total number of abortions in the area. The area has one of the highest abortion rates in the country. Birmingham-based Anne Forrest from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said: "Young girls and boys need to understand that there is no pressure on them to have sex ... to bring this high number of abortions down, parents need to be involved a lot more. It's no good just throwing contraception at the young and letting them have abortions without their parents' consent." [icBirmingham, 25 July]

Ministers from member states of the European Union have recommended that funding for research using embryonic stem cells should continue, but not for the actual harvesting of embryonic stem cells, which is directly destructive of the embryo. The European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potocnik proposed the compromise, which won support from Germany, Italy and Slovenia - countries which had opposed earlier funding schemes. Austria, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Slovakia voted maintained their opposition to the proposals.. The decision must now be confirmed by the European Parliament. [BBC News, 24 July]

The Polish parliament has voted to oppose embryonic stem cell research in response to the recent decision by the European Union to fund it. The resolution, which was passed in the lower chamber, Sejm, by 341 votes to 47, stated: "Sejm of the Republic of Poland points out that those reprehensible practices (human embryo experimentation) are inconsistent with Polish law. [The destruction] of human embryos purposefully to receive stem cells is against the Polish Constitution, Chapter II, article 38, which states 'The Republic of Poland shall ensure the legal protection of the life of every human being.'" [LifeSite, 24 July]

The first authorised abortions have reportedly taken place in Colombia, after the Constitutional Court decided to de-penalise abortion. The Court voted to de-penalise abortion in certain circumstances, including for the life and health of the mother, in cases of rape and incest, and life-threatening foetal deformity. Dan Zeidler, the U.S. representative of the Latin American Alliance for the Family, said, "Even if the Court 'only' de-penalised some abortions, it is a tragedy of immense proportions for Colombia and the world...There is reason to believe their intent is to 'legalize' abortion or even recognize it as a 'right'. Also, the lack of preciseness in terminology in words such as 'health' may leave the door open for wide-open abortion." [LifeSite, 24 July]

Eight women in Kenya have been arrested for attempting to procure an illegal abortion. Police made a raid on a suspected abortion clinic in Nairobi and arrested the women as well as the clinic manager. The women have been taken to Kenyatta National Hospital for treatment and will subsequently be taken to court. [The Nation, 24 July]

A spokesman for President Bush has retracted his assertion that the President regards stem cell research as murder. Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, said last Tuesday that the President had used his veto because he believed that such research was equal to murder. He yesterday apologised, saying that he had "overstated" President Bush's position. [The New York Times, 25 July]

The Australian treasurer has again called for women to have more children. Peter Costello said while launching a census, that it was vital to the country's long-term health and prosperity. He also said that the ethnic composition of Australia would be changed, if the birth rate did not rise above its current rate of 1.8 children, as migrants from other countries tended to have higher birth rates. [The Guardian, 25 July]

Opposition is growing to Amnesty International's proposal to support abortion. Pro-life groups and members of the Catholic Church have appealed to Amnesty to amend the proposal, which seeks to support access to abortion in certain circumstances. John-Henry Westen, a board member of Canada's Campaign Life Coalition, said: "This is completely inconsistent with what Amnesty has been about. We consider this an attack on the rights of the unborn." In a statement released at its London headquarters, Amnesty said that the group "does not make policy according to the ebbs and flows of external pressure." A significant number of members have reportedly already threatened to leave the group if the proposals are adopted as policy. [Seattlepi, 24 July]

The family of an elderly British woman has told the coroner that she died a painful and terrifying death after being deliberately starved and dehydrated by a hospital doctor. Olive Knockels died in 2003 aged 91 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after suffering a suspected stroke. Doctors at the hospital allegedly decided that she would have no quality of life if she recovered and removed nutrition and hydration despite a court injunction forcing them to reinstate them. In a statement at the inquest, Ivy West, the woman's daughter, said that her mother had begged her for something to eat and drink but that the request was refused by a nurse on doctor's orders. The inquest has been adjourned. [The Times, 25 July]

An independent inquiry is to investigate the death of an Irish woman who died while undergoing IVF treatment. Jacqueline Rushton, who was undergoing fertility treatment at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, died on January 14, 2003 aged 32 after contracting ovarian hyperstimulation (OHSS), which led to Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome. OHSS is a complication associated with IVF in which fluid from the bloodstream leaks into the abdominal cavity, causing it to swell and possibly affecting major organs. The family of Mrs Rushton has welcomed the inquiry, which is to be chaired by a UK specialist, Professor Alison Murdoch, of the Newcastle Fertility Centre. [Irish Independent, 25 July]

IVF treatment is less likely to be successful if the mother's eggs have been frozen and stored, according to a recent American study. Researchers from Cornell University in New York found that the chance of an artificially fertilised egg resulting in a live birth was lowered from 6.6% to 3.4% if the egg had been frozen. Writing in the journal Fertility and Sterility, they said that that the value of freezing eggs for optional applications "remains to be determined." [Reuters, 25 July] Paul Tully of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children commented: "These figures confirm what is fairly obvious - that the process of freezing and thawing ova may adversely affect the embryos they generate. IVF practitioners should be forthright about such facts. However, the figures cited here refer to embryos created from "sperm-injected" eggs, so they may not reflect the results of typical IVF procedures."

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