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Scottish woman gives birth despite abortion; sues hospital

21 March 2006

A woman in Scotland who gave birth following an abortion is suing the state-funded hospital involved. Stacy Dow, 21, decided to have an abortion when she was 16. One of the twin unborn babies she was carrying was aborted in the procedure but she subsequently gave birth to the other, a daughter, Jayde. She is claiming £250,000 damages from the Perth Royal Infirmary for suffering she experienced in the continued pregnancy, in the delivery, and subsequent loss of earnings. Advocate David Stephenson, who represents the hospital, said that there was no contract between Miss Dow and the hospital to guarantee that the abortion would be successful so she has no grounds for her claim: "Nothing said to [Miss Dow] by the doctor could or did mention a warranty that her pregnancy would be terminated." The case was adjourned till 29 March. [The Scotsman, 21 March]

The Anglican Bishop of Hereford, England, has publicly opposed Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill. Rt Rev Anthony Priddis called on churchgoers to show their opposition to euthanasia by writing to their MPs and urging them to vote against the bill. He said that, if assisted suicide were legalised, relationships between doctors and patients would be seriously undermined and elderly patients could be put under pressure. The second reading of the bill is expected to take place in May. [BBC, 21 March] The Bill is expected to have its next reading in the House of Lords on 12 May.

Two more women in the US have died after taking the abortion pill, RU486 (known as Mifeprex or Mifepristone). The US Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating four deaths suspected to have been from infections caused by taking the abortion pill. FDA statements say the causes of the two latest deaths have yet to be confirmed. [Reuters, 18 March]

The Cardinal Newman Society in the United States has published a report naming Catholic educational institutions which have links on their websites to abortion providers. The CNS has sent letters to 11 colleges in question asking them to remove such links. The US bishops' 1999 guidelines to Catholic colleges and universities called on them to show a "commitment to provide personal services (health care, counselling and guidance) to students, as well as administration and faculty, in conformity with the Church's ethical and religious teaching and directives". [LifeSite.com, 17 March]

The Times newspaper in Britain has published an article on the increasing practice of egg donation for money. In theory, money paid to women who donate their eggs to IVF patients is compensation for time and inconvenience. However, there is evidence that some people are paying large sums for the chance of conceiving a 'perfect' child. Egg donors can gain up to $100,000 for their eggs if they have outstanding talents or intelligence. One 'egg broker' in California also pays donors a $500 bonus if previously donated eggs have led to a pregnancy. [The Times, 18 March]

The disgraced cloning expert, Dr Hwang Woo-Suk has been dismissed from his post at Seoul National University, South Korea, six months after his suspension following revelations that he had faked research. Dr Hwang and six members of his team also face criminal charges. [BBC News, 20 March]

The leader of Italy's Catholic bishops has called on Catholic politicians to follow Church teaching in the run up to next month's election. Speaking to the Italian bishop's conference, Cardinal Camillo Ruini also said that all electors should pay special attention to life and family matters, such as abortion when voting. The church in Italy has been criticised by opponents who say that it is getting too involved in secular affairs but Cardinal Ruini said that the Church could not stay silent on issues concerning fundamental human values. [Evening Echo, 20 March]

A bill that would have forced Catholic hospitals in America to give morning-after pills to rape victims has failed to gain sufficient support. Key legislative committees voted against the bill, which required all hospitals in Connecticut, including Catholic ones, to provide Plan B to all victims of rape within 72 hours. Senator Christopher Murphy, co-chairman of the public health committee who was backing the bill, said that there was a "recognition that this is not going to get a vote" unless there had previously been an agreement between Catholic hospitals and supporters of Plan B. [Hartford Courant, 21 March]

The Governor of Michigan has agreed to approve a bill which would require abortion providers to give women the option of seeing their unborn child on ultrasound before performing an abortion. Governor Jennifer Granholm has been criticised by pro-abortion advocates who say that this is another attempt to create a barrier to abortion. The bill expands on the current law, which states that women must have the option of seeing diagrams of a developing embryo, but not necessarily their own. [Detroit Free Press, 20 March]

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