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Defending life from the moment of conception

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RCOG admits rise in abortions is 'disappointing'

4 July 2007

The rise in the number of abortions in England and Wales in 2006 has been described as disappointing by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. A statement said the increase of 3.9% "points to a failure to address the problem of unplanned pregnancy, particularly in teenagers and young women". The college called on the Government to heed its recommendations and proposals which are to be published in its study group's findings on teenage pregnancy over the next week. There needed to be a rethink in the way sex and relationship education (SRE) is provided with the aim of changing attitudes and behaviour across all ages. [Medical News Today, 3 July]

A Canadian girl who is likely to be infertile in later life could give birth to her half-brother or half-sister if she is allowed to use her mother's frozen eggs. Flavie Boivin cannot have children naturally because of a chromosomal condition called Turner's syndrome. Her mother, Melanie, has frozen eggs for her daughter to use to get pregnant if she so wishes and if regulations allow. An independent ethics committee agreed to the procedure "because the mother giving to a daughter is out of love". Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said the case was bewildering. [BBC, 3 July]

US Catholic bishops are pleading with Amnesty International to reverse its decision to adopt a pro-abortion stance. Bishop William Skylstad, president of the US bishops' conference, issued a statement on Monday urging the organisation to reverse its "deeply disappointing decision" and restore its neutral position on the issue. He said: "The action of the executive council undermines Amnesty's longstanding moral credibility, diverts its mission, divides its own members - many of whom are Catholic or defend the rights of unborn children - and jeopardizes Amnesty's support by people in many nations, cultures and religion." [Zenit, 3 July]

Expensive treatment that screens embryos for abnormalities so the best ones can be implanted makes women nearly a third less likely to become pregnant than those who follow conventional IVF. A study looked at 408 women aged 35-41 who used preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) checks. At 12 weeks, 37% of the IVF group was pregnant compared with just 25% of the PGS women. Sebastiaan Mastenbroek, who led the research team from the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at the University of Amsterdam, said: "Until this technology has been proven it should be kept in the research setting." [BBC, 4 July]

The cloning of male sperm to help infertile men could become a reality after scientists duplicated the genetic material of mouse sperm and used it to fertilise eggs. Researchers from Cornell University, New York, claim this could offer hope to infertile couples, although it could be years before the procedure is used in humans. Whilst stressing that the research had nothing to do with cloning people but improving the chances of fertilising an egg with a man's own sperm, study leader Professor Takumi Takeuchi said it could raise ethical questions. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the UK described the issue as a "grey area". [Daily Mail, 4 July]

Babies are being buried alive in Brazil, claiming the lives of dozens each year. Children born into some Indian tribal families are being killed in shallow graves in the Amazon rainforest. Girls, babies with disability or who have unmarried mothers are all in danger, campaigners say. Like other peoples, the Suruwahá consider that a child with any deformity or disability does not have a soul and so - like animals - should be killed. Some anthropologists, such as Dr Erwin Frank, say people should respect cultures that allow this. [Telegraph, 22 June]

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