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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Focus on premature babies shows the madness of late-term abortion

26 February 2007

The Sunday Telegraph reports on several of cases of very premature babies whose mothers told doctors that they were further into the pregnancy than they were to try to ensure that their babies were given intensive intervention. The survival of a premature baby Amillia Taylor born at 21 weeks gestation in Florida last October, prompts comments from Professor Stuart Campbell, the former head of obstetrics and gynaecology at King's College School of Medicine who has stopped performing late-term abortions, stating: "To me it seems utterly illogical that, in adjacent wards, one doctor is struggling to save a baby delivered at 23 weeks while another is aborting a healthy baby of the same age." The article says that in Britain each year some 800 babies are born before 25 weeks gestation and 50 per cent.survive. Survival rates of 39 per cent for 24 week babies, and 17 per cent for 23 week infants are also cited. [Sunday Telegraph, 25 February] Abortion is legal up to birth in the UK on certain grounds such as disability.

Doctors treating four women with a family history of breast cancer are applying to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for permission to create embryos through IVF and discard those found to be carrying the cancer gene. None of the women have fertility problems. Joan Nicholson of the genetics committee of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, who carries the cancer gene, said: "Had this test been available a number of years ago, I would definitely have had it. But one of my cousins believes it is completely wrong. She says that if screening had been available I would not exist." [Sunday Times, 25 February]

A report into maternal and child health in the UK has said more should be done to encourage diabetic women to take folic acid supplements when trying to conceive. Previous reports in the triennial series (Confidential Enquiries into Maternal and Child Health) have found that stillbirth among diabetic women is five times as high as the average. [BBC, 26 February]

Pro-life campaigners have accused the EU of pushing a pro-abortion agenda, in spite of promises to states with pro-life laws that it would not interfere. Biblical Family Advocates stated that the EU has tried to pressure Nicaragua to change the law on abortion and noted that the EU passed a pro-abortion resolution in 2002. In the same year, Gunther Verheugen, the EU Commissioner, assured Malta's Archbishop that 'the European Union would never take jurisdiction over abortion.' [EWTN, 23 February]

Ireland's Catholic pregnancy advice service, Cura, is being threatened with the withdrawal of its government funding because it has stopped distributing a 'Positive Options' leaflet, which contains information on abortion referral services. The state's Crisis Pregnancy Agency has said that Cura, will lose 650,000 euros in funding if it does not resume distribution. Four Cura counsellors from Donegal remain suspended from the organisation after they wrote to the press objecting to distributing the leaflet two years ago. [The Sunday Business Post, 25 February]

A pregnant 14-year-old was asked by her teachers to advise four peers who had also fallen pregnant, the Telegraph reports. Kizzy Neal's father denied that parents should be blamed, pointing the finger at the 'gang culture' that encourages teenagers to have sex. The teenage pregnancy rate in Torbay, Devon has increased by 10% since 1998. Kizzy is due to give birth in May; of her four peers, two have had abortions, one has decided to keep the child and the fourth is undecided. [Daily Telegraph, 25 February]

Pope Benedict XVI has defended the right to life in a speech to the Pontifical Academy for Life, warning: "In developed countries, there is a growing interest for the most sophisticated biotechnological research to introduce subtle and extensive eugenics methods in the obsessive search for the 'perfect child'." He also warned about the increased pressure around the world to legalise abortion and euthanasia. [Christian Today, 26 February]

The US state of Vermont is debating a bill to legalise assisted suicide, LifeSite reports. Jim Douglas, the governor of Vermont, opposes the bill, saying: "We need to make it [death] dignified, we need to make it pain-free. But to empower physicians - who take an oath to alleviate pain and do no harm - to hasten death is a step in the wrong direction." [LifeSiteNews, 23 February]

A study on guinea pigs has suggested that a vaccine against cytomegalovirus (CMV) could reduce stillbirths, Medical News Today reports. The guinea pigs injected with the vaccine produced 28 live pups and 4 dead ones compared with 9 live pups and 12 dead ones in the control group. CMV can cause stillbirth, learning difficulties and hearing loss in newborn babies and there is currently no treatment or vaccine for pregnant women available. The study, led by Mark Schleiss, American Legion Endowed Chair in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, is to be published in the March 15, 2007 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases. [Medical News Today, 25 February]

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