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Defending life
from conception to natural death


New blood test could lead to increase in sex-selective abortions

20 September 2006

A blood test has been developed which researchers claim can identify the sex of an unborn child at seven weeks into pregnancy. The UK's Institute of Child Health did research on more than 70 pregnant women and says that an early knowledge of the child's sex rendered further tests for many genetic disorders unnecessary. [BBC Online, 19 September] SPUC General Secretary, Paul Tully, commented: "This test is being presented as a benefit to carriers of genetic diseases, but it may generate more pressure on unwilling mothers to submit to invasive tests. It also offers the prospect of increasing sex-discrimination abortion in countries where this is rife."

Almost two-thirds of young people in Scotland said they are not satisfied with their sex education, a survey has found. According to the poll more than half of Scots did not use contraception the first time they had sex. More than three-quarters of those polled thought it was a parent's responsibility to educate their children about sex. [Daily Record, 19 September]

The Socialist government of Portugal has announced it will hold a referendum on abortion in the January of next year. Voters will be questioned on support for legislation allowing abortions during the first ten weeks of pregnancy. The current law permits abortion for rape, incest, foetal abnormality, or serious danger to the life or health of the mother up to the twelfth week. The opposition party Christian Democrats reiterated their strong position against any widening of the law. [LifeSite, 18 September]

Pope Benedict XVI last weekend praised and encouraged further research into ethical adult stem cell research and said the possibilities opened up by this "new chapter" were fascinating. At a Vatican sponsored congress on stem cell therapy, the Pontiff challenged the "frequent and unjust accusations of callousness" aimed against the church for its position against embryonic stem cell research. He said there could be no compromise and no "beating around the bush" when newly conceived human embryos are destroyed. [CNS, 18 September] The Pope also commented on abortion and said it was "inconceivable for a society to fight crime effectively when itself legalises crimes in the field of nascent life." [Life Site, 18 September]

Former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry yesterday called on both pro-lifers and proponents of abortion to achieve "common ground" over the issue. In a speech at Pepperdine University in California, the Catholic senator renewed his support for Roe v Wade and said he acknowledged that "the language both sides use on this subject can be, unfortunately, misleading and unconstructive". He said: "Instead of making enemies, we need to make progress." [LifeSite, 19 September]

Two Democrats from the House of Representatives have introduced legislation which focused on reducing "unwanted and unintended" pregnancies. The Reducing the Need for Abortions and Supporting Parents Act would require states to fund birth control for women of less than twice the federal poverty level. If successful, the bill would also establish grants for sex education and force abstinence programmes to include extensive instruction on contraception. [Medical News, 19 September]

A New Hampshire couple have been arrested after attempting to force their 19-year-old daughter to have an abortion. Nicholas Kampf, 54, and his wife, Lola, of North Yamouth, Marine, tied up their daughter, Katelyn, and drove her to New York after finding out she had got pregnant to a man who is now in jail, it is alleged. The kidnapped teenager managed to escape and alert police. Her parents are currently being held on $100,000 bail each. [The Herald, 19 September]

Pregnant women are drinking over the recommended alcohol limit and are putting their babies at risk of permanent brain damage, a children's charity has claimed. A survey of 1,100 pregnant women conducted by the charity Tommy's found that one in 20 pregnant women regularly admitted to going over the recommended limit of one or two units of alcohol once or twice a week. Tommy's wants the recommendation changed to [The Times, 19 September]

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