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Defending life
from conception to natural death


weekly update, 25 to 31 January

31 January 2007

weekly update, 25 to 31 January The Indian Muslim Welfare Society and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) held a Muslim-Christian conference in Batley, West Yorkshire, England on 27 January. The main speakers were John Smeaton, national director of SPUC, and Dr A Majid Katme, Muslim coordinator for SPUC and spokesman for the Islamic Medical Association in the UK. The topics addressed were abortion, euthanasia and sex education, along with abortifacient contraceptives and secret abortions. Dr Katme called on all Muslims to join the pro-life campaign, while Mr Smeaton condemned the silence about these issues. [SPUC, 29 January ] The oldest woman to give birth, at 67, convinced doctors at the clinic where she received IVF treatment that she was 55. Miss Carmela Bousada gave birth to twins on 29 December, sold her home in Spain to raise the funds needed for the treatment at the Pacific Fertility Centre in Los Angeles, USA. She chose the egg and sperm donors from a catalogue of photographs, and insisted the she would not have trouble raising the twins as a single mother, despite her age. [Reuters, 29 January ] An estimated 5,000 pro-life supporters marched through Lisbon last Sunday, carrying banners representing the different phases of life. The rally was held in advance of Portugal's referendum on whether to relax the abortion laws. [Guardian, 29 January ] The Australian federal health minister, Tony Abbott, has warned that legalising euthanasia would put old people at risk of being killed. He spoke out after an Australian doctor, John Elliot, courted publicity for a trip to Switzerland to commit suicide. Mr Abbott said that pain-relief that inadvertently caused death was acceptable, but "if the intention is to cause death, then that is wrong and it should continue to be wrong". A fellow Liberal member of parliament Mr Mal Washer advocates a law that would allow patients receiving palliative care to be given an onverdose of morphine, but Dr Philip Nitschke, who accompanied Dr Elliot to Switzerland, said that Mr Washer's proposal did not go far enough. [Age, 29 January ] Folic acid supplements taken during pregnancy can reduce the risk of cleft lip, according to a study in the British Medical Journal. The research was done in Norway, which has one of the highest rates of cleft lips and cleft palates. A folate-rich diet or supplements each reduce the risk significantly, but use of both gave the greatest protection. Folic acid appears not to provide protection against cleft palate alone. [Medical News Today, 28 January ]

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