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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Women share stories of post-abortion regret

27 July 2006

Nine women who had abortions have written about their experiences and the effect that it has had on their lives in a British newspaper. Writing in the Daily Mail, the women expressed a variety of reactions and most said that they felt some kind of regret and guilt. Elaine Jowsey, who had an abortion aged 17 because her boyfriend refused to support her and the child, said, "My decision to deny a child a future has in many ways been a personal life sentence for me ... I'm still not over my abortion." Tina Mills-Baldock had an abortion when she found out that her unborn child had heart and kidney defects. She said, "There are no words to describe the mental anguish and terrible emptiness that swallows you in the days after an abortion ... I don't think you ever get over an abortion completely. It's especially hard around the time of what would have been my son's birthday. A friend was pregnant at a similar time to me and when I see her little girl I imagine, if things had been different, having a child the same age." [Daily Mail, 26 July]

A British man has described how he helped his wife to kill herself at a Swiss clinic. Derek Buckley, 72, took his wife Alayne, 61, who suffered from motor neurone disease, to the Dignitas clinic in Zurich where she was injected with a lethal dose of barbiturates. Mr Buckley, who is now a campaigner for assisted suicide in Britain, said, "I have no doubt euthanasia is being practised in this country and if it were made legal it would be more controlled." Police have decided not to investigate Mrs Buckley's death. [Daily Mail, 27 July]

An American journalist has described how several doctors made repeated requests for permission to allow her critically ill father to die. Louis Winnick, who suffers from lung cancer was rushed to Long Island's North Shore Hospital after a blood clot endangered his life. Pamela Winnick wrote in the Wall Street Journal about how she and her family were told that it was their duty to let him "die with dignity". Ms Winnick averted the pressure to withdraw critical care by telling doctors that the family were orthodox Jews. He later recovered enough to be taken off his respirator and was able to sit up, read the paper and take part in a family party. [LifeSite, 26 July]

A three day conference on population and development has concluded in Pakalinding, Gambia. The Population Secretariat and Advocacy Project (PSAP) of the State Department for Communications, Information, Technology held the conference for Imams in order to ensure that approaches to population and development were not at odds with Islam. Alieu Sagnia, acting Director of Information Services and Advocacy Project, said that religious leaders had an important role in population control. The report does not make clear whether abortion, abortifacient birth control or population control were promoted, or refuted, by the conference. [Daily Observer, 26 July]

The people of New Zealand are being asked their opinions on whether embryonic stem cell research should be permitted to be carried out in the country. The Bioethics Council launched a discussion document on Monday called "The cultural, ethical and spiritual aspects of using human embryos for research." The council's acting chair, Dr Martin Wilkinson, said: "It's a serious topic that involves everyone in New Zealand. We are talking about using human embryos for research, which raises tremendously important issues. We want people to think about these issues and we want people to have an opinion." A discussion on embryonic stem cell research is to be launched on the Bioethics Council's website on August 15. [New Zealand Herald, 24 July]

Europe's bishops have issued a statement criticising the recent decision by the European Union to continue funding embryonic stem cell research. The Commission of the Bishops' Conference of the European Community wrote that the compromise decided on by the EU in which the direct destruction of embryos is not funded but financial support is given to research on cells extracted from them, is not acceptable to the Church. They said, "This declaration is most unsatisfactory because European funding of research on embryonic stem cells entails the risk of promoting at the level of the Member States the destruction of human embryos." The bishops called on Catholics to promote debate on the issue at all levels and concluded, "The use of human embryos for research purposes (i.e., their destruction or the research with stem cells derived from these embryos) is not acceptable. Furthermore there is no necessity to undertake this research; according to experts, adult stem cells and stem cells from the umbilical cord, offer an alternative path with interesting and real perspectives for therapy." [Zenit, 26 July]

Hillary Clinton has criticised new legislation in America that makes it a crime for adults to help minors travel to another state to get an abortion without the consent of their parents. The bill has been passed by the US Senate and has yet to be reconciled with a more stringent one passed by the House of Representatives in which doctors are required to give the parents of a minor 24 hours notice before performing an abortion. Mrs Clinton claimed that the legislation will cost "a lot of girls' lives." [Telegraph, 27 July]

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