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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 26 April to 2 May

2 May 2006

weekly update, 26 April to 2 May Geoff Hoon MP, Leader of the House, has said that the government will not establish a joint Lords-Commons enquiry into late-term abortions. A enquiry had been requested by the Chairman of the House of Commons' select committee for science and technology Phil Willis, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough. [Daily Telegraph, 28 April ] SPUC comment: Such an enquiry would lead to a widening of abortion legislation in the current anti-life Parliamentary climate. We must continue to warn MPs of the danger of such an enquiry. Reported instances of euthanasia in the Netherlands have risen for the third consecutive year, 1,993 cases being noted for 2005. Studies estimate that official figures record just over half of all cases of euthanasia. Three cases have been referred to judicial authorities with a view to prosecution because the doctors in question had not followed guidelines. [The Guardian, 27 April ] A court in Shanghai has recently given a three-year prison sentence to a Chinese man who helped his paralysed daughter to kill herself. Wang Tinghe's lawyer said the court had shown leniency because of the particulars of the case. Wang said that his daughter, Wang Qiong, had begged him to end her suffering. Euthanasia is not legal in China, but some lawmakers support its legalisation because of the country's aging population and the increasing cost of healthcare. [Washington Post, 27 April ] The Australian newspaper The Age has published an article which supports a government initiative to fund a pregnancy counselling helpline for women who want to continue their pregnancy. Nicholas Tonti-Filippini argues that critics of the scheme such as Reproductive Choice Australia, who want the helpline to include abortion providers, fail to see that "To have real choice, a woman distressed by pregnancy needs more than the hard facts and the offer to arrange a termination. If and when Reproductive Choice Australia has a history of providing tangible support to women to continue with a pregnancy, it may have some pro-woman credibility." [The Age, 26 April ] A doctor who mistakenly pulled out the ovary and part of the bowel of a woman while carrying out an abortion may remain on the doctors' register under condition that he retrain, the General Medical Council has ruled. Andrew Gbinigie was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the GMC in 2003, following multiple allegations of malpractice while performing abortions. [BBC News, 23 April ] France has the second highest birth rate in Europe, according to a Reuters article. One key factor in this relatively high fertility may be the government incentives offered to French parents who have large families. These include medals for successful large families, higher benefits for three or more children, and childcare allowances encouraging mothers to return to their careers after having children. France's birthrate of 1.9 per woman is excelled only by Ireland (1.99), but it is still below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. [Reuters, 26 April ]

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