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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 17 to 23 May

23 May 2006

weekly update, 17 to 23 May A spokesman for the Catholic church in Scotland has said that the pregnancy of an 11 year old girl demonstrates that government sex education policies have failed. "Apart from anything else, what has happened is illegal as the girl is under age... If a neighbourhood has problems with joyriders, no one suggests that what the offenders need are faster cars. You get them out of the cars and educate them about... their behaviour," the spokesman said. He said calls for more sex education in schools were "completely off mark." The girl told a newspaper she is "really excited" to be having a child. [The Universe, 17 May ] Pope Benedict sent a message to the world congress of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations at a meeting in Barcelona. The message, sent via Cardinal Sodano, urges Catholic doctors "to take care, above all, of those who are not yet capable of defending themselves, as in the case of unborn children, or those who can no longer look after themselves, such as the elderly and terminally ill", in keeping with "the lofty dignity of the human person". [ZENIT, 16 May ] Catholic church officials in Argentina have criticised a proposal 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 ] An increasing number of parents are aborting children with Down's syndrome after prenatal tests for the condition. According to research by the Down's Syndrome Association, 62% of Down's syndrome children are diagnosed in the womb, and 92% of these are aborted. The NHS National Down syndrome Cytogenic Register shows that in 2004, abortions of Down's syndrome children, at about 937, outstripped live births at 657. Lisa Green, who was offered an abortion at 35 weeks pregnancy after her son was diagnosed with the condition, said that the doctor "listed only the potential negatives about Down's syndrome, without giving us any information to read for a more balanced view". Mr and Mrs Green decided not to abort their son, Harrison, who is now two years old. [The Telegraph, 21 May ] 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 ] 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 its hallmark for over forty years." [LifeSite, 18 May ]

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