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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 24 to 28 November

28 November 2006

weekly update, 24 to 28 November The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Britain's largest private abortion provider, has said that nurses should be allowed to give the abortion pill to women without the consent of doctors. Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, said: "We would like to see the restriction removed that means by law women can only have an abortion if two doctors approve ... ". She claimed this requirement was arcane, and that nurses should assess and provide the abortion pill. A MORI poll found that 59% of people favoured abortion on demand and 27% disagreed, compared with 64% and 25% in 1997. Ms Furedi noted that abortion had become a back-up to contraception which has failed in about 40% of women seeking abortion. [The Guardian 28 November ] Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, responded in a press release, noting that, in another recent poll, just under 90% of women wanted women to be offered advice about alternatives to abortion such as adoption services and 87% wanted the government to fund organisations providing alternatives to abortion. [SPUC source 27 November ] Julia Millington of the Pro-Life Alliance said: "While some women do find themselves in difficult situations and need proper help and support, the vast majority of abortions are not performed due to any grave or permanent health risk." [BBC News 28 November ] An American study on unsafe abortion has used flawed data to promote abortion in developing countries, according to 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 "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 ] The Catholic Church in Scotland has criticised the promotion of egg freezing for women who wish to postpone motherhood to further their careers. The Glasgow Centre for Reproductive Medicine is promoting the service, which may cost around £3,100. Simon Dames, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland commented: "Putting careers before family is upside-down thinking. Money doesn't come before any relationship, especially family. In that sense, freezing eggs is a non-starter." [The Scottish Herald, 25 November ] A new system has been launched in the UK to help doctors to locate the nearest available hospital place for ill newborn babies. Some three babies a day are transferred, sometimes hundreds of miles, because of staff and cot shortages. The National Neonatal Cot Locator should provide doctors with accurate information on cot availability. [BBC, 27 November ]

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