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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Babies born alive during abortions

25 April 2007

One in 30 babies aborted for medical reasons is born alive, some surviving for over six hours, a study of West Midlands, England, hospitals has found. Most of the babies were born between 20 and 24 weeks of pregnancy and lived for an average of 80 minutes. Researchers assessed the outcome of nearly 3,200 abortions performed on seriously handicapped foetuses at 20 hospitals between 1995 and 2004. They found that 102 who had been aborted for reasons such as Down's syndrome and heart defects were born alive. Ms Julia Millington of Alive and Kicking, the pro-life group, said: "This can't just be happening in the West Midlands. It begs the question of how many healthy babies must be surviving. It would suggest the true figure must be much higher." [Daily Mail, 20 April]

President Bush has pledged to ensure the right to life of all unborn children following the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the country's partial-birth abortion ban. "The ... decision is an affirmation of the progress we have made over the past six years in protecting human dignity and upholding the sanctity of life," he said. "We will continue to work for the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law." Senator Hillary Clinton, a leading Democrat presidential candidate and former First Lady, called the decision an "erosion of constitutional rights." [CNA on EWTN, 19] Fr Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, called the ban "a mixed blessing". He said it was a small moral victory but no babies would be saved by the decision "because the abortion industry will just alter their procedures for killing late-term babies and call it by a different name". [CNA on EWTN, 19 April] In New Jersey, the Legal Centre for the Defence of Life has called on US Attorney Christopher Christie to enforce the statute against a clinic in Englewood where 1,500 partial-birth abortions are performed each year. [LifeSite, 20 April]

Pope Benedict commended medical staff for their care of the sick on a visit to a hospital in Pavia, northern Italy. While acknowledging the benefits of modern scientific discoveries, he said that scientific and technological advances should also promote fundamental values such as the respect and defence of life at all stages. [Zenit, 22 April]

A Montreal woman has had her eggs frozen for later use by her seven-year-old daughter, who has Turner's syndrome which causes sterility. Doctors at McGill University Reproductive Centre pioneered the freezing programme for cancer patients. This is the first mother-to-daughter donation. The procedure was endorsed by the centre's ethical committee. [Scotsman, 19 April]

The Belgian ruling party proposed a law to require all hospitals to provide euthanasia for patients who requested it, in its manifesto for elections this year. Doctors may opt out, but the hospital must ensure the request is carried out by another doctor. Euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002, based on the theory of total personal autonomy, whereby only patients can judge the quality and dignity of their lives. [LifeSite, 19 April]

A terminally-ill woman, who recently withdrew her case to force doctors to give her an overdose of morphine from the British High Court, intends to continue campaigning for euthanasia for others. Ms Kelly Taylor denied she had changed her mind but had asked for an adjournment so she could investigate drug-free pain treatment. A delay was not granted, so she withdrew. [Telegraph, 20 April]

The ex-speaker of the Polish parliament is setting up a pro-life political party. Mr Marek Jurek stood down as house speaker after legislators failed to push through amendments to the constitution that would have toughened Poland's abortion laws, which are some of the strictest in Europe. He also resigned from the Law and Justice party after accusing Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski of undermining any chances of seeing the abortion debate back on parliament's agenda. His new party will back family values and oppose further moves to liberalise the abortion laws. [AFX on ABC Money, 19 April]

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