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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Minister announces plans to expand IVF

25 July 2007

The British public health minister has announced that there will be new measures to improve the availability and quality of IVF treatment on the National Health Service. Ms Dawn Primarolo MP outlined measures to standardise eligibility criteria, to produce better guidance for primary care trusts and to monitor IVF provision more closely so as to identify where services needed to be improved. She said: "We recognise that there are local variations in the provision of IVF and that this does cause distress to many childless couples who feel that they are not getting the treatment they need." [Department of Health, 24 July] IVF involves great waste of human life. Statistics from Australia have suggested that only one IVF embryo in 25 will see the light of day as a born child.

An American couple has been awarded more than $21million after a doctor's misdiagnosis led them to give birth to a baby with a severe disability. Daniel and Amara Estrada, who already had a son with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, said that, if they had known that their second unborn child also had the condition, they would have aborted him. Dr Boris Kousseff reportedly told them after the birth of their first son that they would be able to have healthy children in the future. He is judged to have been 90% negligent in what is being called a "wrongful birth" case. [Guardian, 25 July]

Catholic bishops in Australia are opposing a proposed law to decriminalise abortion in the state of Victoria. Ms Candy Broad, a member of the state parliament's upper house, is introducing a bill that would enable free access to abortion in all cases in the early term of pregnancy. Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, Bishop Peter Connors of Ballarat, Bishop Jeremiah Coffey of Sale, and Bishop Joseph Grech of Sandhurst have signed a letter to the state parliament in which they emphasise that more needs to be done to provide positive alternatives to women in difficult situations. They write: "Removing abortion from the crimes act cannot make something so unethical acceptable. Our political leaders should be trying to find new ways to reduce Victoria's high abortion rate rather than risk taking any steps which might make abortion more widespread ...The Church is already working to support vulnerable women and their families but we want to do more. Catholics are ready to join with others in finding new and positive solutions to the widespread problem of abortion." [Zenit, 24 July]

A British woman trapped in her home by flooding has lost her premature newborn twins. The woman, who has not been named, went into labour while she was stranded by rising waters at her home in Tewkesbury. After giving birth to the twins, she and the babies were taken to hospital by helicopter but the babies later died. A spokeswoman for Gloucestershire police said: "The mother and babies were taken to Cheltenham General Hospital, faster than an ambulance would have been able to do in normal circumstances, where everything possible was done to help them. Sadly, the babies did not survive. This is a tragic situation and our thoughts are with the family. The woman and her family have asked to be left alone at this difficult time." [Times, 25 July]

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