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Defending life from the moment of conception

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US Senate votes in favour of destructive embryo research

12 April 2007

The US Senate has voted against President Bush's restriction on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The senate voted 63-34 in favour of funding destructive embryo research. Congress is not expected to produce the two-thirds majority votes needed to override the restriction. Senator Tom Harkin, who is chief sponsor of the bill which seeks to legalise federal funding, urged President Bush "to reconsider his threat to veto it." [Reuters, 12 April]

The British senior health minister has insisted that the National Health Service (NHS) is able to provide choice for pregnant women as to where to give birth. Writing in The Guardian newspaper in response to claims that there are not enough midwives to meet this promise, Mrs Patricia Hewitt admitted that in some areas there are shortages but promised action: "...in parts of the country more must, and will, be done, including creating more training places to encourage more midwives into the NHS, and supporting flexible working to keep them there. ... We know that many midwives prefer working in midwife-led units or supporting home births, so giving mothers-to-be to this choice will help make the NHS a more attractive place to work." [Guardian, 12 April]

Inspectors of British schools have approved of schools which provide under-age girls with birth control drugs. A report from Ofsted, the education watchdog, called the provision of the morning after pill (MAP) a "valuable service" and rejected "abstinence-only" programmes, and claimed that there was no evidence that birth control lessons led to increased sexual activity. [Daily Mail, 11 April] The Ofsted report also warned that parents are failing to educate their children about sex. Miriam Rosen, Ofsted's director of education said: "No matter how difficult it may be, parents and teachers have to discuss sensitive issues with their children and pupils to help them make the right choices as they grow up." [Gazette, Hemel Hempstead, 11 April]

A British woman who was made redundant after she became pregnant has won compensation against her company. An employment tribunal in Birmingham has ruled that Jennie Ingram, 31, was dismissed by her employer Spring Technology as a result of direct sex discrimination. Her solicitor Sian Owen said: "Normally it can be very hard to prove direct sex discrimination and this is a rare triumph." Spring Technology said that Mrs Ingram's redundancy had been genuine, and a fair redundancy package had been paid to her. The company intends to appeal against the ruling. [Birmingham Mail, 6 April]

An American teenager has been found guilty of trying to hire an assassin to kill his ex-girlfriend's unborn child. Charles D. Young, 18, received 76 months in jail after pleading guilty to first-degree solicitation to commit manslaughter. He was arrested after an undercover policeman posed as a hit man and was offered $3,250 by Young to injure his ex-girlfriend so badly that her unborn baby would die. [Guardian, 4 April]

A Canadian doctor has pleaded guilty to attempting to assist a suicide. Dr Ramesh Kumar admitted that he tried to assist Ruth Wolfe, 92, to attempt suicide and has agreed to stop practising medicine. He will be sentenced on June 11. [LifeSite, 4 April]

There is a direct link between domestic violence and a woman's decision to have an abortion, according to Australian researchers. A study carried out by the Mother and Child Health Research of La Trobe University showed that women who reported having an abortion in teens and early twenties were three times more likely to have suffered from some sort of abuse from their partner than women who did not have an abortion. Dr Angela Taft, co-author of the study, said: "The take home message is that if we want to reduce the rate of abortion and unwanted pregnancy in Australia, especially among teenagers, we need to reduce violence against women. Also healthcare providers and pregnancy counselling services should ask women seeking terminations about their experiences of partner abuse and if necessary, refer them to supportive agencies." [LifeSite, 4 April]

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