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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Pro-lifers warn against legal abortion in Mexico City

3 April 2007

Pro-life advocates in Mexico have warned that if abortion is legalized in Mexico City, the number of abortions might increase to as many as 150,000 per year. Jorge Serrano Limon, president of the National Pro-Life Committee in Mexico, wrote a letter to the government containing the figures and also noting that in 2006, 96 women died in Mexico as a result of illegal abortions, not 1,600 as claimed by the proposed law. He wrote: "Legalizing abortion is true betrayal, as well as the most cowardly of crimes that attacks the life of the innocent and the dignity of women, irremissibly harming them." He called on the government to give the women better options for "resolving the psychological, social, economic and health pressures that they face" rather than pushing them into abortion. [CNA on EWTN, 30 March]

All women in England are to be given the choice to give birth at home, in a hospital or in a midwife-led unit, according to the government. The promises were first outlined in Labour's 2005 manifesto. The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has estimated that another 3,000 midwives are needed over the next five years to fulfil the promise. Dame Karlene Davis from the RCM said: "We are obviously concerned that there will need to be enough midwives to make it happen." [BBC, 3 April] Some experts have warned that women are not sufficiently informed of the risks of giving birth at home. James Drife, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Leeds General Infirmary, said that home births were twice as likely to result in foetal death as hospital births, even for women considered to be at low risk. He said: "I don't think the government is being realistic about what can be achieved or entirely honest about the risks." [Telegraph, 3 April]

Scottish doctors have called for obese women to be banned from receiving IVF treatment until they lose weight. The Royal College of Obstetricians' Scottish committee has said that providing fertility treatment for obese women is a waste of NHS resources, as obesity reduces the chance of conceiving. The committee has recommended that women with a body mass index (BMI) of higher than 30 should be put on a waiting list until she loses weight. Any woman with a BMI of 36 or higher would not even be able to join the waiting list. Dr Tony Harrold, a consultant gynaecologist at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, who is on the committee, said: "The recommendation is made on the basis of clinical effectiveness because we know that for those with a high BMI, the chance of treatment working is reduced." [Daily Record, 2 April]

The family of a three-year old British girl who suffers from a rare form of leukaemia has called for blood from umbilical cords to be routinely saved. The parents of Eva Winston-Hart searched for months for a donated umbilical cord that had matching stem cells to Eva's own before finally finding one in America. Her mother Amy said: "Every cord is potentially a life-saver. It just gets thrown in the bin. If that donor cord had just been thrown in the bin, there wouldn't be that match for Eva. ... There are 11 million donors world-wide and that was the only one." [Leicester Mercury, 2 April]

Revised guidelines have been issued for the administration of anaesthetics to women during and after childbirth by the American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA). The guidelines, which are published in the medical journal Anaesthesiology, recommend a wider range of techniques and provide information for women to consider before receiving anaesthetics during labour, delivery and after delivery. [Reuters, 2 April]

Women who gain weight during pregnancy are more likely to have children who are overweight when they are toddlers, according to American researchers. A team of scientists from Harvard University studied over 1,044 women and children in a study that was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Dr Emily Oken, the study's lead author, said: "These findings suggest that pregnancy weight gain can influence child health even after birth..." [Netdoctor, 2 April]

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