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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Guttmacher study 'is using flawed data to promote abortion'

24 November 2006

An American study on unsafe abortion has used flawed data to promote abortion in developing countries, according to the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). A team of researchers from the Guttmacher Institute in New York, led by Dr Shusheela Singh, has claimed that unsafe abortions in the developing world cause the deaths of 68,000 women a year. [BBC News, 24 November] Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, commented: "The author of this story works for one of the most wealthy and politically powerful pro-abortion lobby groups in the world, the Wall Street-based Guttmacher Institute. The "research" was funded by the Hewlett Foundation, a notoriously pro-abortion body. Reports of the study claim that Dr Singh found out about the rate of admission to hospital following complications from unsafe abortion. This is not what she did. Dr Singh's "findings" were not factual data established by research, but guesses extrapolated from estimates. The burden of the study is clearly to promote the killing of more unborn babies in poorer countries, regardless of the fact that women do not want abortions." [SPUC, 23 November]

Easy access to the morning-after pill does not reduce pregnancy rates, according to a study in America. Researchers in North Carolina carried out a trial on 1,493 sexually active women, half of whom were given free packages of the Plan B pill, and half of whom were not. They found at the end of 12 months that there was no significant difference in pregnancy rates in the two groups. In the group who had increased access to the birth control, the incidence of pregnancy per 100 person-years was 9.9 and in the control group it was 10.5. Dr Elizabeth G Raymond, from Family Health International in Research Triangle Park, and fellow researchers, originally thought that making access to the pill as easy as possible would result in fewer pregnancies. They concluded that the method of easy access to the morning after pill "would probably not be feasible for widespread, long-term use outside a study." [Reuters, 23 November]

Measuring a baby's oxygen levels during labour does little to prevent complications or caesarean sections, according to a recent study by American researchers. Scientists from the University of Texas South-western Medical Centre in Dallas found that the sensors which are placed on the baby's cheek or temple made no difference to the child's health, even among babies believed to have an abnormal heart rate in the first place. Steven Bloom, who led the research, said: "Knowledge of foetal oxygen saturation did not significantly affect infant outcomes." He hopes that the results will serve "to protect pregnant women from being exposed to equipment and a technology that appears to provide no benefit." [Reuters, 23 November]

American scientists say they have identified a protein that helps to detect DNA damage in developing eggs. A team of researchers from the Harvard Medical School believe that the p63 protein may play a key role in killing off defective eggs and ensuring only the healthy ones stand a chance of being fertilised. Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield and secretary of the British Fertility Society, said: "This work helps us to understand the egg quality control process better and might one day allow us to understand why some women have fertility problems because of the poor quality of the eggs they ovulate." [BBC News, 23 November]

Corrective surgery has been carried out in Florida on a baby who was born with his heart outside his chest. Naseem Hasni underwent surgery to put his heart inside his chest after being delivered by caesarean section at Holtz Children's Hospital in Miami. Doctors used a piece of Gore-Tex fabric to make their repairs during the operation for Naseem's very rare congenital defect, ectopic cordis. He is in a critical but stable condition in hospital. Doctors hope that he will be able to return home by Christmas. [CNN News, 23 November]

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