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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Pharmacists to give out birth control pills without prescription

12 December 2007

The British government could let pharmacists supply birth control pills without a prescription. [PA on Channel 4, 12 December] John Smeaton, SPUC national director, said: "This is all part and parcel of the government's massive attack on human life and of their total disregard for the health care of women, particularly young women. Producers of the contraceptive pill are quite clear that one of the ways in which the pill works is by preventing the implantation of the newly-conceived human embryo in the lining of the womb. You can be sure of one thing. The government will not be warning women about the danger of micro-abortions in their statements and publicity about this service." [SPUC, 12 December]

SPUC has described aspects of the government's new schools strategy as "another ratcheting-up of the targeting of young people to be victims of the culture of death." Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, said: "The Children's Plan promises a review of best practice in sex education. Every review since 1990 has led to calls for 'more of the same' policy - sex education and wider provision of sex facilities (abortion, contraception, sex advice) to children and teenagers. The government's reviewers and advisors are not only committed to the promotion of explicit sex information and abortion services. Many of them are actually providers of such services - funded by the government - like Brook, and the abortion service BPAS." SPUC also accused Mr Ed Balls, the minister responsible, of presenting misleading data on teenage pregnancy, which has actually increased in recent years. [SPUC, 12 December] Mr Ed Balls MP, secretary of state for children, schools and families, published his department's Children's Plan yesterday.

The House of Lords has considered a proposal to require that birth certificates should record whether a child was conceived using donated gametes. An amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill tabled in the House of Lords on Monday would compel parents to inform the registrar of donor conceptions. Baroness Barker, who was involved in drawing up the amendment, said it was intended "to find ways to minimise the potential hurt or distress either to the people or their parents", but support groups for couples using IVF and gamete donation condemned the move as an attack on parental privacy. [Evening Standard, 11 December]

The Scottish minister for health has said that it might one day be possible to move to a system of presumed consent for organ donation, but there is little public support for it at the moment. Ms Nicola Sturgeon MSP made the comment in response to calls from doctors' leaders in Scotland for such a change in the law in order to increase the number of transplants. [BBC, 9 December]

Argentina's president-elect has stopped legislation that would liberalise the country's abortion law. This move comes as a surprise, since Mrs Cristina Fernández de Kirchner made ambiguous statements about abortion prior to her election, and belongs to the pro-abortion Peronist party. At present, all abortions are illegal in Argentina, but there are cases, including rape or the impregnation of a mentally retarded woman, in which such abortions do not carry a criminal penalty. [LifeSite, 7 December]

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