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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Argentine proposal to liberalise abortion law

23 May 2006

Catholic church officials in Argentina have criticised a proposal, drawn up by a team of so-called legal experts, to widen the grounds on which abortion is legal. Currently abortion is allowed only in the case of pregnancy resulting from rape of a woman with a learning disability or when the mother's life is in danger. The new proposal includes the suggestion that the woman who has an abortion should not be punishable if it is done with her consent in the first three months of pregnancy "providing circumstances make it excusable." The proposal would also allow judges, at their discretion, to reduce or waive a prison term of between one and four years in cases of euthanasia. Government officials have made it clear that they are not officially endorsing these proposals. [Catholic Online 22 May]

Research published by the World Health Organisation has found that caesarean births could lead to a greater risk of illness and death for both mother and baby. Researcher Jos Villar found rates of caesarean births rising worldwide, and the 23.8% rate in Wales was the highest in the UK. Maternal risk factors include severe illness, death and antibiotic treatment post pregnancy. Risk factors for the baby include pre-term delivery and death in the neonatal period. Lorna Tinsley, national officer for the Royal College of Midwives in Wales, said elective Caesarean deliveries should not continue. [icWales 23 May]

A bronze statue by Mr Damien Hirst, a modern British artist, of a pregnant woman which reveals her unborn baby has been unveiled at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The statue is 35 feet tall, weighs 13 and a half tons and is called Virgin Mother. The figure has layers of flesh removed on one side to reveal the unborn baby and the woman's skull, muscles and tissue. It has received a mixed reaction from members of the public. [BBC News 22 May]

Mrs Julie O'Neill has been described as the "mum with a dozen reasons to smile" as she is the proud mother of 12 children. Mrs O'Neill is sad that she will not be able to have any more children, as it could put her life in danger. Once all her children are at school she would like to get a job working with babies. She says "I think they are just gorgeous." [Manchester Evening News 23 May]

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