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Vietnamese abortions spark local pro-lifers into action

29 June 2006

High abortion rates in Vietnam are leading to the development of pro-life activities in the country. In Ho Chi Minh City, where over 74,000 abortions took place in 2005, local Catholics have set up a cemetery where the bodies of aborted babies are buried. The co-ordinators of this project have to remain anonymous for security reasons, as Vietnam is still a communist country where Christian activities may be suppressed. 'Mr H', who runs the project, said "Yesterday afternoon, we buried 16. It's sad to see this with our own eyes. All 16 little foetuses had been placed in a green bag... In the first three months of this year, we buried at least 400 children". A conference to address to the problem of abortion was attended by nearly 1,000 people in Ho Chi Minh City this year. [LifeSite, 26 June]

A team at the University of California, San Francisco, has found that prenatal maternal smoking may increase the risk for Tourette's Syndrome. People genetically vulnerable to the disease whose mothers smoked when pregnant were more likely to suffer severe symptoms in later life.[Reuters Health, 26 June]

A Guardian report suggests that having a baby can motivate teenage girls to go back into education. Louise Tickle writes that where specialised support is available, young mothers who dropped out before becoming pregnant often go on to complete educational qualifications. Full childcare and education funding is available until a mother is 20. [The Guardian, 27 June]

A sheriff has ruled that negligent care in a nursing home had led to the death of an elderly patient. Mr David Fairlie, 74, died in hospital in October 2002 of "preventable gangrene" after being resident at Alexandra Nursing Home in Paisley, Scotland. Sheriff David Pender's inquiry report found that Mr Fairlie was "severely dehydrated and malnourished" on his admission to hospital." [Scotsman, 26 June]

Cardinal Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, last week gave an address in Singapore on the social doctrine of the Church and the centrality of the laity's role in promoting it. Speaking of the primacy of human life, the Cardinal said "... defending life from conception to natural death and promoting it in all its stages, is of fundamental importance for Christian action in the area of society. The right to life is the first right without which all other rights would lack their foundation. As the right of rights, the right to life should be the basis of all social planning...". [ZENIT, 25 June]

The lawyer defending Chen Guangcheng, a blind rural activist in China detained after he exposed forced abortions and sterilisations, says his car was attacked as he attempted to visit the accused man's wife. Chen is a self-taught legal expert who drew international attention last year to accusations that officials were enforcing coercive family planning measures under China's one child policy. Chen himself has been under house arrest or in detention since September 2005. He was formally arrested last week on charges of destroying public properly and assembling a crowd to disrupt traffic. [The Scotsman 28 June]

The California Senate Judiciary Committee has voted by 3 to 2 to block a bill that would have allowed terminally ill people to have "doctor assisted suicide." Earlier this year Mr Arnold Swarzenegger, the California governor, suggested he would not sign such a bill because the issue was of such importance it should be left to voters. [Reuters 28 June]

Mrs Jo Yarnall of Birmingham, whose three year old daughter Hannah has Down's syndrome, has put together a video montage celebrating Hannah's life and posted it on the internet, in a bid to help people understand more about the syndrome. It will be used during training courses for medical professionals at hospitals across the Midlands. Mrs. Yarnall noted that about 90% of babies with Down's syndrome are aborted. [icBirmingham 27 June]

Mrs Geraldine Griffiths of Rhyl, North Wales was wrongly advised 30 years ago that she was a carrier of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which could be passed on to her unborn children. She had two brothers who died in their teens of this condition, and she underwent hospital tests which apparently confirmed that she was a carrier. As a result of this she decided to abort two baby boys. She says "I look life when it was unnecessary." Recently she received confirmation that it is "highly unlikely" that she is a carrier. [icNorthWales 27 June] Alison Davis, National Coordinator of No Less Human, SPUC's disability rights group said "It is wrong to imply that abortion is necessary if the baby is disabled. Every abortion is a tragedy, and disabled unborn children have as much right to life as those who are apparently not disabled."

The Michigan Parole Board has rejected for the fourth time a request from Jack Kevorkian, described as an "assisted suicide crusader" to be paroled. His attorney claims that he has less than a year to live. He was convicted in April 1999 of second degree murder for assisting in the suicide of Thomas Youk, who had a form of motor neurone disease, and whose death was televised. Kevorkian admits assisting the suicide of over 130 people. [Life News 27 June]

The Canadian government has authorised embryonic stem cell research for the first time, using taxpayers' money. The governing council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research gave conditional approval for scientists to use both "fresh" and frozen human embryos in the research. [Life News 26 June]

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