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Defending life from the moment of conception

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UN official challenged over abortion bias

14 December 2007

A senior UN official has had his impartiality on abortion challenged during the current Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr Amr Roshdy, Egypt's delegate to the council, yesterday pointed out that the Centre for Reproductive Rights' website describes Mr Paul Hunt, UN special rapporteur on health, as one of its advisors. Mr Roshdy also said that Mr Hunt had signed the Yogyakarta principles on sexual orientation and gender identity. The principles reinterpret genuine human rights and attack the natural family and other critical human rights. Mr Hunt conceded that he was an advisor to the Centre for Reproductive Rights and that he, and seven other UN special rapporteurs, had signed the Yogyakarta principles. John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: "It's tragic that anti-life, anti-family ideologues like Paul Hunt are so powerful in the UN. However, it is extremely good news that countries are standing up to those in powerful UN positions who are promoting ideologies which are pro-abortion. The world is changing because the world's silent majority are standing up to be counted." [Pro-Life Intelligence, 14 December]

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued a statement which advocates limiting the right of doctors to refuse participation in abortion, as well as other practices to which there might be conscientious objections. The statement, released by the ACOG's ethics committee, insists that doctors must refer a patient to another physician who is willing to perform abortions. The Christian Medical Association has written a letter in protest criticizing the ACOG's policy, which Dr David Stevens, the CMA's CEO, described as "a step beyond not representing our life-affirming values to actually advocating policies to prevent us from exercising those values". Dr Gene Rudd CMA executive vice-president, has resigned from the ACOG, saying "My conscience can no longer support their lack of conscience... I as an obstetrician have a moral obligation not only to act in my patient's best interest, but also in the best interest of the developing baby, and of society as a whole". [CNA on EWTN, 12 December]

Dr Giorgio Iannetti, professor of surgery at Rome University, has told a conference in Rome that the doctors' Hippocratic Oath should be abolished or radically rewritten. [Irish Independent, 11 December] Comment: The oath is used in many different versions, some of which omit the long-standing prohibition of abortion.

A study published in the British Medical Journal has linked elective Caesareans to breathing problems in newborn babies. The study found that babies delivered by pre-planned Caesarean section were more likely to suffer respiratory difficulties than those delivered normally or by emergency Caesarean. [Guardian, 12 December]

The woman who became the oldest mother in the world last year has been diagnosed with cancer. Miss Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara gave birth to twins through IVF treatment aged 66, having reportedly falsified her age to obtain treatment from a private IVF clinic. [Telegraph, 12 December]

A professor of obstetrics in Australia has suggested that new parents should be taxed to offset their babies' lifelong carbon emissions. Professor Barry Walters, clinical associate professor at the University of Western Australia and the King Edward Memorial Hospital, Perth, argued in the Medical Journal of Australia that parents having more than two children should pay a tax of £2,150 at the child's birth, and also suggested that 'greenhouse-friendly' behaviour such as condom use or sterilisation should earn 'carbon credits'. Professor Walters wrote: "Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years." A spokeswoman for the Australian Family Association condemned the proposals. [Sun, 11 December]

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