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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 5 to 13 July

13 July 2006

weekly update, 5 to 13 July SPUC has commented on government statistics on abortions performed last year in England and Wales, and has accused the government of threatening doctors with punitive action if they do not make access to abortion easy. John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, said: "The number of abortions on girls under 15 who were resident in England and Wales rose by nearly five percent from 1,034 in 2004 to 1,083 last year. It is shameful that the government should promote secret abortions for girls under the age of consent and insist that their parents aren't told. The government is exposing under-age children to being abused. There is massive government pressure to promote easy access to abortion and much pressure on doctors to comply." The number of Irish women seeking abortions in the UK has fallen for the fifth year running. Figures show that last year 5,585 Irish addresses were given by women who attended abortion clinics in Britain. This is a decrease from 6,217 in 2004. The number of teenagers providing Irish addresses fell from 903 in 2001 to 655 in 2005. Critics of the statistics say that it is possible that some Irish women provide the addresses of British relatives or friends. [Breaking News, 5 July ] The government-funded Crisis Pregnancy Agency has claimed that it has caused this decline. Patrick Buckley of European Life Network in Dublin said: "We welcome any reduction in the number of surgical abortions carried out on Irish women. However, this does not take account of abortions carried out elsewhere or the use of abortifacient birth control. The Crisis Pregnancy Agency has continually failed to fulfil its mandate and its methods lead to more promiscuity and more abortion. They are part of the problem, not the solution." The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected a lawsuit against Ireland by an Irish woman who travelled to the UK for an abortion. The woman, known as D, underwent an abortion in Britain when she found out that one of her twin unborn children died in the womb and the other had a genetic abnormality known as Edwards' syndrome. Abortion is illegal in Ireland unless there is a serious risk to the life of the mother. She sued the Irish government for insufficient access to abortion, human rights violation and discrimination. The court said the woman did not try hard enough to get an abortion in Ireland before going to the UK. [Life Site, 6 July ] Patrick Buckley of European Life Network said: "We welcome the ECHR rejection of the D case. The case was clearly another speculative attempt to undermine Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion. This action was callously used by the Centre for Reproductive Rights as part of its global campaign to use national and regional courts to further its agenda in trying to make abortion a human right." The Pope has said that every human being is created as part of the divine providential plan. Speaking to 1.5 million people at a Mass in Spain, which was the culmination of a conference to promote the traditional family, Benedict XVI said, "Certainly we come from our parents and we are their children. But we also come from God who has created us in his image and called us to be his children. Consequently, at the origin of every human being there is not something haphazard or chance, but a loving plan of God." He spoke out in support of the traditional family describing it as "founded on indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman." His words were met with frequent cheering from the crowds. Spanish Prime Minister José Luiz Rodríguez Zapatero did not attend the Mass. [The New York Times, 9 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 ] President Bush will use his veto against a bill to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research if the Senate approves it, according to a White House aide. Karl Rove told an American newspaper that the legislation, which has already been passed by the House, is expected to pass the Senate and that if this is the case, "the president would, as he has previously said emphatically, veto the...bill." Rove said, "We were all an embryo at one point, and we ought to as a society be very careful about being callous about the wanton destruction of embryos, of life." [The Guardian, 11 July ]

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