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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Man 'forced wife to have 10 abortions'

14 June 2006

An Indian man who wanted a son allegedly forced his wife to have ten abortions in twenty-three years. Dhanvanti More, who has four daughters, filed a complaint against her husband, who has been detained on charges of harassment and forcing abortions. She told the Hindustan Times that every time she became pregnant her husband arranged an ultrasound test to see if it was a boy and if it was a girl, he forced her to have an abortion. Police are currently investigating the doctors who performed the tests and the abortions, as revealing the sex of an unborn child is illegal in India. [The Guardian, 12 June]

The British professor who called for euthanasia to be legalized without patient consent has said that there is no moral difference between withdrawing medical treatment and actively killing the patient. In a letter to the Guardian newspaper in response to criticism from colleagues, Professor Len Doyal also said that concerns about abuses of the euthanasia laws in the Netherlands are "unsubstantiated claims" and called for "compassion combined with fierce regulation". [The Guardian, 14 June]

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. has rejected a petition by a pro-abortion group to sell the morning after pill, Plan B, over the counter. The Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR) has been petitioning the FDA for five years to allow the abortifacient pill to be sold without a doctor's prescription or supervision. The decision to reject the petition was announced on the 9th June. CRR President, Nancy Northup said: "We are now more determined than ever to use the courts to force the FDA to do its job and make Plan B available without prescription." [Life Site, 13 June]

The National Health Service in Britain is to establish a major "bank" of stem cells from umbilical cords. The Department of Health has invested £4.2million in the scheme. Cord blood banking is currently carried out at only three hospitals in Britain. Professor Peter Braude, chairman of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: "We would like to see public banking strongly supported in the public interest for the hundreds of thousands of children who could benefit in the future." It is hoped that research on stem cells taken from cord blood could result in cures for diseases such as leukaemia. [Daily Mail, 14 June] The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has however warned pregnant women that such cures are "extremely speculative" and should not be seen as a form of medical insurance. Dr Susan Bewley, chairwoman of the college's ethics committee said: "Some of the commercial literature almost suggests it's offering the gift of life or elixir of life. Our view is that if there is a potential elixir of life it is needed for the public good." [The Guardian, 14 June]

Researchers from the University of Alberta, writing in the Journal of Perinatology, found that children of mothers who consumed cod liver oil daily after the 18th week of pregnancy and during early breast-feeding performed better in terms of IQ at the age of four. They also found that pregnant women themselves could benefit from taking fish oils such as the reduction of high blood pressure and the easing of postnatal depression. [Daily Mail, 13 June]

Spain could be the first country to give human rights to apes under a law proposed by members of the ruling Socialist coalition. Under the law, it would not be possible to own a chimpanzee, gorilla or orangutan, which would instead be under the "moral guardianship" of the state. The Archbishop of Pamplona and Tudela, Fernando Sebastian, has said that the proposed law is the result of a "ridiculous or distorted society". He said, "We don't give rights to some people - such as unborn children, human embryos, and we are going to give them to apes." [The Telegraph, 10 June]

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