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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Two-thirds of Irish GPs opposed to over-the-counter morning-after pill

19 May 2006

A new survey suggests that two-thirds of Irish GPs may be against the abortifacient morning-after pill (MAP) being sold over the counter (OTC). The survey of 106 GPs in Cork, conducted by Dr Fionnula Murphy, found that among the reasons doctors are opposed to MAP being sold OTC are that the MAP is abortifacient and that OTC access would encourage promiscuity among teenage girls. Dr Murphy's research won the Irish College of General Practitioners' research competition a the college's annual general meeting [Irish Medical Times, 19 May]

Richard Akinrolabu, the Chichester doctor alleged to have offered to perform an illegal abortion on his lover in his bedsit, has been cleared of all charges by the General Medical Council [BBC, 18 May]

The Catholic Church in India has condemned moves within Amnesty International to adopt a pro-abortion policy. Archbishop Oswald Gracias, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, said: "If the much-respected organization adopts a pro-abortion policy, it would mean that Amnesty International is bidding good-bye to human rights, which has been it's hallmark for over forty years." [LifeSite, 18 May]

Catholic nurses in India are under pressure to assist abortions, according to a Catholic youth group. Siji K. Mathew, a coordinator of nurses within Jesus Youth, said: "Some of us had to resign our jobs when we were pressured by the management to assist in abortion procedures". At a convention for nurses in Bangalore organised by Jesus Youth, nurses unanimously affirmed their commitment to conscientious objection to abortion and other unethical activities. [Spero News, 18 May]

The Office of National Statistics has released provisional fertility rates for last year which show the a small rise in the birth-rate for the fourth successive year. The 645,835 births in 2005 raised the standard fertility rate in England and Wales to 1.80 children per woman. [Office of National Statistics, 18 May]

An Israeli group, concerned at the decline in the Jewish birth rate in Israel, is offering support for pregnant women to complete their pregnancies. Efrat, established after changes to Israel's abortion laws in the late 1970s, offers a thousand US dollars' worth of support, such as baby clothes, to poor Jewish women if they choose not to have an abortion. Dr Eli Schussheim, the surgeon who founded and directs Efrat, said: "Even if we had 10 million Jews here and there wasn't a demographic problem, I would still do it. In 29 years, I haven't had one case where a woman said she regretted it." [Reuters, 17 May]

A Canadian psychologist has denied assisting the suicide of one of his clients at the Dignitas organisation in Switzerland. Peter Marshall made the denial while defending himself against a complaint being heard by a board of the Canadian College of Psychologists. Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, commented: "I view the issue of professional medical people involved in the question of assisted suicides and euthanasia -- especially in the case of suicide terrorism -- as a direct threat to vulnerable people," he said.

Pope Benedict, in an address to the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, has said that the human embryo should always "be treated as a person" [LifeSite, 17 May]

The Catholic Medical Association (U.S.A.) has issued a statement on "Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Fetuses". Among the statement's recommendations, it states that: "When no alternative [ethically acceptable] vaccines are available, there is a 'moral duty to continue to fight and to employ every lawful means' [quoting a recent Vatican statement] to pressure the pharmaceutical industry, government authorities and national health systems to make ethical alternatives available...In addition, we encourage accurate labeling and informed consent for the use of all vaccines derived from cell lines connected with acts of procured abortion." [Catholic Medical Association, 18 May]

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