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Defending life from the moment of conception

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London demonstration against Chinese one-child policy

16 August 2007

A demonstration against China's one-child policy was yesterday held outside the Chinese embassy in London by SPUC's youth and student division. The silent protest drew attention to the forced abortions and sterilisations carried out under the policy, as well as to the injustices suffered by those who have attempted to stand up to the Chinese government over this issue. Fiorella Nash, co-ordinator of the demonstration, said: "Anyone concerned with human rights should be uniting to fight this atrocity, which has been responsible for the deaths of millions of unborn babies." A similar demonstration by university students was due to take place in Sydney, Australia, today. [SPUC, 16 August]

An organisation investigating infant deaths in Britain has reported that, at least once a day, a baby dies who has started the labour process in apparently good health. The Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health want more parents to call for post mortems on their dead babies. Only an estimated 40% of such deaths are now the subject of enquiries. Doctors say information concerning the cause of these deaths is too often lacking. This follows reports that medical staff have stopped offering parents the possibility of a post mortem. [BBC, 15 August]

A report by British MPs and peers has warned that many older patients are being neglected in their hospitals and care homes. The Joint Committee on Human Rights heard evidence of care home residents subjected to neglect and discrimination, and has concluded that 21% of facilities have failed to meet even minimum standards of dignity and privacy for elderly patients. Mr Andrew Dismore MP, committee chairman, said: "Neglect and ill-treatment of the elderly is a severe abuse of human rights. We must see a complete change of culture in the health and care services." Mr Ivan Lewis MP, health minister, has said that reforms of services for the elderly are on the way: "We are strengthening our leadership role and embarking on a major programme of change which will seek to address the issues raised in this report." [BBC, 14 August]

An Irish woman has died of deep vein thrombosis after taking an oral contraceptive pill. Julie Hennessy of Dublin was found dead in her home on 22 March. Pathologist Peter Szontagh-Kishazi said that the cause of death was certainly the Mercilon oral contraceptive pill that Miss Hennessy had just taken. He said: "Clotting is a well-known risk of using the contraceptive pill. There is no other medication that has such a big risk." A spokesman for Organon Laboratories, which makes the drug, said yesterday that doctors must consider the risks as well as the benefits of prescribing such drugs. A member of Miss Hennessy's family said: "The Pill was the major cause of our daughter's death and we want to put it on record that other young women should be aware of these dangers. I wouldn't like this to happen to another family." [Irish Independent, 15 August]

Abortionists in Massachusetts are reportedly responding to the Supreme Court's partial birth abortion ban by injecting unborn babies with lethal drugs to prevent them being delivered live if an abortion is incomplete. The Boston Globe says three major hospitals affiliated to Harvard University have made such injections "standard operating procedure for abortions beginning at around 20 weeks' gestation." Phil Magnan, president of Biblical Family Advocates, said: "What should always give us pause is the fact that at one end of the hospital they are fighting to save a small 20 week [premature] baby from dying, offering them excellent life-saving procedures; and yet at the other end of the hospital they are giving children lethal doses of drugs to kill them in an attempt to shield themselves from botched abortions. Their actions are screaming medical hypocrisy." [Boston Globe on CNA on EWTN, 13 August]

New research suggests that pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding could be putting their children at risk by eating poor-quality foods. Dr Stephanie Bayol of the Royal Veterinary College, London, said that new findings have shown that unborn and developing infants can have their food habits programmed by what their mother eats during pregnancy and breastfeeding. She warned that this could: "promote an exacerbated taste for junk food in offspring" that puts children at risk of obesity. According to the study, consumption of fatty and sugary foods can make it harder to resist overeating in later life. [Sky and Guardian, 15 August]

A US-based Catholic organisation has resolved to prohibit pro-abortion politicians from attending its events. The Knights of Columbus made the decision at their 125th annual convention this week. They resolved to "reaffirm our long-standing policy of not inviting to any Knights of Columbus event, persons, especially public officials or candidates for public office, who do not support the legal protection of unborn children, or who advocate for the legalization of assisted suicide or euthanasia." The Knights affirmed they would support alternatives to abortion, including adoption, as well as projects that provided spiritual support to women suffering from traumatic after effects of abortion. [Lifesite, 13 August]

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