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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Dorries time-limits bill defeated

31 October 2006

Nadine Dorries, a Conservative MP, presented a 10-minute rule bill today 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. Mrs 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]

Researchers at Newcastle University's centre for regenerative medicine have succeeded in growing a miniature human liver in the laboratory, using stem cells taken from an umbilical cord moments after birth. The results were announced by Professor Colin McGuckin. The mini liver is the size of a 1p piece and scientists hope they will be able to use the technique to develop a full-size functioning liver which could be used for transplants. Miniature livers may be available within two years to test drugs. It is hoped that within five years pieces of the artificial liver can be used to repair damaged tissue in patients. [Daily Mail 31 October]

Canadian researchers reporting in the foetal and neonatal edition of Archives of Disease in Childhood have found that women who take methamphetamine, an increasingly popular drug taken in clubs, are three times more likely to have babies who are underweight as newborns and have developmental problems. Previous studies have shown that low birth weights are linked to behavioural problems and learning difficulties in childhood and with heart disease and type 2 diabetes in later life. Dr Gideon Koren, a pharmacologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto said "Drug abuse increases complications of pregnancy and triples the likelihood of serious medical problems among the babies born." [Life Style Extra 31 October]

Fr Raymond Gravel, one of Canada's most vociferous opponents of Catholic teaching on marriage and life issues including abortion, is to run as a Bloc Quebecois candidate in a Montreal, Canada, by-election. He has the permission of his bishop to run for public office, apparently on condition that he would not stand "against the doctrines of the Church" in public office, although opposing the church's official position on family and life matters is a prominent feature of his public statements. [Life Site News 30 October]

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