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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Mother who delayed cancer treatment until after pregnancy given all-clear

29 March 2006

A mother who put off treatment for leukaemia until the birth of her daughter to avoid harming her unborn child has been given the all-clear. Sarah Peck, 31, who has two other children, was offered the option of an abortion when her illness was diagnosed, but she decided to continue the pregnancy and delayed treatment that could have harmed the baby. Her daughter Charlotte was born safe and well last year. After months of treatment, Mrs Peck was given the all-clear by doctors in February. She said, "What I am really looking forward to now is spending quality time with my children. My family has always come first but now even more so. Every day is a gift now." [BBC News, 24 March]

Researchers are developing a new birth control pill based on the drug mifepristone (RU486). Scientists at the University of Edinburgh suggest that the pill might not carry the risks of breast cancer that are associated with current daily pills. Professor David Baird has said that it may even protect women against cancer. The BBC report says it would work by stopping the monthly cycle. Dr Rosemary Leonard, a London GP and medical writer and broadcaster, said: "This is highly speculative. It is really not yet known how this particular pill works, and what the long-term implications are. Once you start talking about stopping the action of the ovaries, you then start looking at the whole hormonal picture, and that is when you think: what is this doing to long-term health?" [BBC News, 28 March]

The new Vice President of the Academy for Life has said that life cannot be defended if its beauty is not appreciated. Monsignor Jean Laffitte said in an interview with the news website Zenit, "In my opinion, the great problem at present is the loss of the sense of the beauty of life. Life cannot be defended if its beauty is not perceived." He emphasised the inherent goodness of all life. [Zenit, 26 March] Monsignor Laffitte also said that the Pope's first encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" highlighted the link between life and love. He said, "This encyclical invites us to be aware that God is really love; the life that comes from him is a direct consequence of that love. This totally changes our outlook on human existence and its end, on the end of life, on what animates us, on our profound intentions and on the way in which we exercise our activity." [Zenit, 27 March 06]

The BBC News website has started a series about the falling birth rates in Europe, the reasons behind this and what the state can do about it. As Europe's working-age population declines, most European countries now have an ageing population that is not being replaced by the 2.1 children per family that is needed to sustain and stabilise a country's population. They investigate the incentives that European governments are offering parents to have children such as tax breaks, long maternity leave and bonuses. [BBC News, 27 March]

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