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Amnesty in Canada backs pro-abortion motion

1 June 2006

The Canadian branch of Amnesty International has voted for the international organisation to advocate abortion rights. Amnesty International Canada has become the third national branch to approve the suggestion, which was proposed by the international headquarters, following the example of Britain and New Zealand. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, have condemned the move. Amnesty International will make the final decision on whether to promote abortion as a human right at an international meeting next year. [Life Site, 30 May]

Older women have an equally good chance of conceiving under IVF treatment with only one embryo implanted as with multiple implantations, according to a recent study. Finnish researchers found that women aged 36 to 39 had the same chance of giving birth after a single implantation as younger women. Dr Hannu Martikainen, who led the research, said that it showed multiple implantations was not necessary. He said: "This suggests that embryo quality is the most important parameter. It's quality, not the quantity." [The Guardian, 1 June] Note: The report appears to imply that the study looked at cases where multiple ovulation was stimulated and numerous embryos created, not the recovery and fertilisation of a single natural ovum.

Over 95% of GPs in Ireland treat women who have had an abortion, according to a new study. A survey conducted by the Irish College of General Practitioners and the Crisis Pregnancy Agency also claimed that almost all GPs provide hormonal birth control, 97% prescribed so-called "emergency contraception" (morning-after pills) and 56% would fit hormonal implants. A number of GPs expressed "considerable disquiet" at treating girls aged under 16 and over a third of GPs questioned said they did not think that they were providing adequate services to teenagers and to non-nationals. [Irish Medical Times, 1 June]

A premature baby has survived after almost being aborted by doctors who thought that he was dead. Doctors at Ystad Hospital in Sweden realised that the baby was alive and fully developed, and changed the procedure from an abortion to an emergency Caesarean section. The baby was delivered 10 weeks early and is in good health. [United Press International, 31 May]

The Swiss cabinet has said that they have no plans to change euthanasia laws, despite pressure for the practice of assisted suicide to be more tightly controlled. Parliament had called on the government to re-examine the law which allows assisted suicide after mounting criticism that Switzerland has become a place for "death tourism" as increasing numbers of foreigners come to the country specifically to die. Justice Minister Christoph Blocher said that the cabinet had concluded that new legislation was not necessary. The government has also refused to take action against organisations which arrange assisted suicide, including Exit and Dignitas, on the grounds that it would cause too much bureaucracy and might have the effect of legitimising the groups. [Swiss Info, 31 May]

Women who have breast cancer gene mutations have a lower risk of developing the disease if they have more than one child, according to an international study. Researchers from Britain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Canada examined the effect of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding on women with cancer-causing gene mutations and found that breast cancer rates in women aged over 40 dropped 14 per cent with every additional child born. [Life Site, 31 May]

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