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Defending life
from conception to natural death


China planning to adjust one-child policy propaganda

6 August 2007

China's family planning commission, which is responsible for enforcing the one-child policy, is to use more carefully-worded slogans as part of its propaganda campaign. Aggressive slogans are painted on walls and houses across China threatening couples with the confiscation of livestock and the destruction of property if they do not submit to abortions. Family planning officials say the resulting public resentment may damage the government's image. [Irish Independent, 6 August] Fiorella Nash, SPUC's research officer, commented: "The violent slogans used are merely a reflection of a brutal policy that harms women and kills unborn children in their millions, particularly baby girls. Using gentler language will do nothing to disguise the harsh reality of women being forcibly aborted and sterilised in the name of population control." Young people will protest against China's one-child policy next week in central London, England, and in Sydney, Australia.

Figures released by the Department of Health have revealed that approximately 1 in 22 teenagers in some areas of the UK had abortions last year, including 135 girls under the age of 14. One 18-year-old had her sixth abortion in 2006. The UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in western Europe. [Mail on Sunday, 5 August]

The UK has one of the highest premature birth and infant mortality rates in the developed world, according to research conducted by Tommy's, the premature baby charity. A number of contributing factors have been highlighted such as poor maternity care, women working late in pregnancy and the increased risk of premature birth associated with IVF. [Sunday Express, 5 August]

Bills to change the law to presume consent to organ donation are reportedly to be introduced to the Scottish parliament and to the House of Lords by Baron Foulkes of Cumnock. The British Medical Association is to lobby Scottish parliamentarians to change the law. One must presently opt-in to organ donation. [Scotland on Sunday, 5 August]

The British opposition party asserts that the number of maternity beds has been cut by an average of 18% under the current government, with the figure as high as 40% in South Yorkshire and north-west London. Mr David Cameron, leader of the Conservatives, has promised a 'bare-knuckle fight' with the government over proposals that could signal the closure or downgrading of up to 20 maternity units across the country. The UK also has a shortage of nearly 10,000 midwives. [Daily Mail, 3 August]

There are greater levels of satisfaction among terminally ill patients who receive palliative care at home, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. The research team stated that the study offered "strong evidence for reforming end-of-life care" to allow more terminally ill patients to be cared for in their own homes, which would increase patient satisfaction and reduce medical costs. [Reuters, 3 August]

The UK's Department of Health has revealed that women are using their entitlement to obtain medical treatment in other EU countries to give birth abroad. Women wishing to give birth in other European countries made up three-quarters of all patients who travelled abroad for treatment last year, the main reason given that women with relatives in other countries preferred to give birth near their families. The scheme also allows British nationals living in other EU countries to return to the UK for medical treatment. [PA on Channel 4, 5 August]

Nearly half of pregnant women under 20 in a southern English city smoke during and after their pregnancies, according to Portsmouth Primary Care Trust. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk that the baby will be of low birth weight, premature or stillborn and will be susceptible to ill health later in life. [The News, Portsmouth, 4 August]

Concerns have been expressed in Canada over advertisements aimed at Asians offering ultrasound scans to determine babies' gender. Ms Charan Gill, who leads the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society, commented: "It's really, really sad that some newspapers, for [the] sake of money, are misleading the public. The end result is they will [know] the sex of the baby so that people [who] don't want baby girls can abort [them]." [LifeSite, 3 August]

A woman whose husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer during her pregnancy persuaded medical staff to induce the birth three weeks early so that he could spend some time with his child before he died. The man, identified as Brett, aged 46, died six weeks after the birth of Laynie, at St Anne's hospice in Cheadle, England. [Manchester Evening News, 4 August]

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