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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 25 October to 2 November

2 November 2006

weekly update, 25 October to 2 November Britain legalised abortion just over 39 years ago. A group of physicians have drawn attention to research suggesting that abortion can increase the risk of mental problems in women. In a letter to the Times newspaper , the 15 doctors wrote that women should be warned about the psychological problems of abortion, and they called on the bodies which regulate obstetricians, gynaecologists and psychiatrists to change their guidance. The research which they cited was published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in January. [The Times, 27 October ] The newspaper also carried an article about Ms Sue Hulbert who suffered from long-term depression after an abortion. She said: "I had never suffered from any mental illness before and I had never been depressed and, really, I am the last person who you would expect to react like this. But I was haunted by my abortion and it robbed me of all my confidence." Ms Hulbert was helped by British Victims of Abortion . [The Times, 27 October ] To mark the anniversary last month, there was a vigil and procession in Glasgow, Scotland, and, in a homily, the Catholic Bishop of Paisley said: "The unborn child has a fundamental and inalienable right to life that cannot be abrogated by any man-made law." [Christian Today, 27 October ] An opinion-article in the Guardian newspaper laments what the author sees as a stigma about abortion and calls for it to be made more easily available. [The Guardian, 27 October ] Nadine Dorries, a Conservative MP, presented a 10-minute rule bill in the House of Commons to amend the law on abortion. The bill, which under Commons procedure stood no chance of becoming law, was defeated by 187 votes to 108. Mrs Dorries said her bill aimed to lower the time limit for abortion from 24 to 21 weeks - but it would not have affected the upper limit for disabled babies and some others, which is birth. Most late abortions are on grounds of disability. The bill proposed a 10 day "cooling off" period, following which women would be fast-tracked for abortion. Ms Dorries affirms that she is in favour of the so-called woman's right to choose on abortion. [BBC News 31 October ] [House of Commons agenda 31 October ] The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children opposed the Bill. [SPUC announcement, 31 October ] During the debate on the bill, it was vehemently opposed by Ms Christine McCafferty, Labour MP for Calder Valley, who branded the proposals as "cynical, cruel, ill-informed and most of all, inhumane". [The Guardian, 31 October ] Family doctors in Britain will be expected to question children as young as 13 about their sex lives, and to offer advice about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, even when they attend for totally unrelated ailments. The proposed guidelines from the government body, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, are aimed at reducing the number of teenage pregnancies and the spread of STDs. [Telegraph 30 October ] When the Catholic bishops of Ireland met the Pope on their recent ad limina visit, social issues including abortion and stem-cell research were on the agenda. In the past, Pope John Paul II called on the Irish bishops to be courageous in their defence of life and the family, but they must now proclaim Catholic social teaching in a context of declining religious faith and practice. [The Post 29 October ] The European parliament has rejected three amendments to the European Union budget which would have removed funding from government and organisations' programmes which include coercive abortion, involuntary sterilisation and infanticide. Shortly afterwards, the parliament condemned China for allegedly shooting refugees. Ms Kathy Sinnott, MEP for Ireland south, welcomed the condemnation but said: "Why do Tibetans try to escape from China? Because of these very barbaric practices that in addition to the religious and political persecution blights the life of all the minorities and conquered peoples within the territory China now claims to rule." She asked the European commission what part EU aid was playing in that suffering. [Ms Sinnott's office, 26 October] Nicaraguan legislators have approved what appears to be a total ban on abortion. Rape victims will reportedly not be exempted. [Reuters, 27 October ]

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