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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 24 to 30 May

30 May 2006

weekly update, 24 to 30 May A Northern Irish MP has expressed his relief at the failure of Lord Joffe's assisted suicide bill in the House of Lords, but warns that similar legislation is likely to be introduced, in the Lords or Commons. Nigel Dodds, Democratic Unionist MP for North Belfast, said "It is absolutely essential... that we remain vigilant... This is a question of the value of human life and, in my view, human life is sacrosanct and should not be interfered with through the introduction of legislation like this". [UTV 23 May ] Teenage abortions reached their highest levels to date in Scotland last year, figures published last week reveal. 3,304 out of 12,603 abortions were carried out women under 20, with abortions for under 16s rising by 10% to 341. Mario Conti, Archbishop of Glasgow, commented "Today's figures reveal yet again that the approach of ever greater availability of contraception, ever more explicit sex education, and ever easier access to abortion, is a recipe for disaster". John Sweeney of SPUC Scotland said: "The current programme of providing contraceptive services with its value-free safe-sex message encourages young people to be sexually active. The consequence is more abortions." [The Herald, 25 May ] Mr Jack McConnell, Scotland's First Minister, has criticised the media and entertainment industries for creating pressure on teenagers to engage in sexual activity. Mr McConnell said that implementing sexual health strategies would mean "giving young people the space and the confidence to say no to sexual activity... I don't believe that message has been clear enough in the past in our schools or clear enough in our health service". [The Herald, 26 May ] Sex selective abortion is being carried out in Canada, according to an investigative report by the Western Standard magazine. Journalists found an internal memo from the Women's Hospital in Vancouver which suggested that doctors were carrying out abortions based on the mother being dissatisfied with the gender of the child. The magazine also reports that in parts of Canada with large Chinese or Indian communities, the birth ratio of girls to boys is falling noticeably. [LifeSite, 24 May ] The Health Minister Livia Turco in the new Italian government has spoken in favour of legalising the abortion pill RU-486, proposing trials of the drug in the first instance. The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano criticised the proposals, describing RU-486 as a method for "carefree murder". [Reuters, 23 May ] Researchers in Glasgow claim that poverty may be genetically perpetuated. Dr Chris Packard argues that deprivation can lead to an hyperactive immune system, which in later life causes premature ageing, but at the same time also increases a child's chances of surviving to reproductive age, making it more likely that their genetic material will be passed on. Dr Packard also claims that a hyperactive immune system can flood the brain with chemicals which inhibit the instinct for self-advancement. Professor Allyson Pollyock, of the Centre for International Public Health Policy, commented "Poverty is not a genetic issue, it is an economic issue. If you go down that route you may end up with eugenics, and that is extremely worrying". [Scotland on Sunday, 21 May ]

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