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Defending life from the moment of conception

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This UK region has seen a 20% rise in abortions in one year

13 July 2006

The number of abortions carried out in one southern region of Britain has risen by 20% in one year. 647 women had abortions in South Gloucestershire in 2005, compared to 539 in 2004. This is Bristol says The Family Planning Association has attributed the increase to a lack of birth control services but pro-life activists have said that it is down to the Government's policies of making abortion more easily available. [This is Bristol, 12 July]

Scalp tisue may become a source for adult stem cells, according to American scientists. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine reported in the American Journal of Pathology that, if further tests prove successful, scalp tissue might be able to provide stem cells for use in treating disorders such as peripheral nerve disease, Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injury. Dr Xiaowei Xu, one of the leaders of the research, said, "We are very excited about this new source of adult stem cells that has the potential for a variety of applications." [United Press International, 12 July]

Caroline Flint, the UK public health minister, has said that the government will probably amend IVF law so that doctors who carry out IVF treatment will no longer be required to consider the "need for a father" when considering a request for IVF treatment. Ms Flint was speaking to the Commons science and technology select committee. The idea was to make it easier for single women and lesbians to have babies by IVF. . [Telegraph, 13 July]

Ultrasound can detect anaemia in unborn children, according to scientists. Researchers from a range of countries in Europe and North America have found that ultrasound can measure the speed of blood flow to the midddle cerebral artery, the main artery supplying blood to the brain and can therefore detect whether or not the unborn child is anaemic. They hope that ultrasound will be able to replace the more invasive, dangerous and less sensitive method of amniocentesis. [Reuters Health, 12 July]

A British couple who have 13 children are planning to spend thousands of pounds on IVF treatment to have another baby. Mark and Shirley Wilson from Lincoln, whose children range from aged 19 to 1 years old, said that they were "not ready to stop having children yet". Mrs Wilson, 44, has been told that she might no longer be ovulating and so she and her husband have opted for IVF at a private clinic. Mrs Wilson said, "People ask why I don't stop having children but I ask them why they don't give up the jobs they love. Some people choose to devote themselves to their career. I choose to devote my life to my family." [The Mirror, 13 July]

The morning sickness suffered by pregnant women could have evolved so that expectant mothers would avoid food that posed particular health risks to the unborn according to an analysis of studies in the Royal Society's Biological Journal led by Liverpool University researcher Dr Craig Roberts. This would account for aversions to meat and fish, but the researchers said that a distaste for oils and sugars in pregnant mothers was harder to explain. [BBC News, 12 July]

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