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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Scottish mothers 'to be fast-tracked to abortion'

18 July 2007

Women in Scotland should be offered abortions quickly, under a series of state health service draft guidelines. People with problems such as acute sexually-transmitted infections and women wanting emergency contraception should be referred for treatment within 48 hours, it is suggested. Most women seeking an abortion should have the procedure before 10 weeks' gestation and under-24 year olds who are sexually active should be tested for chlamydia, the recommendations say. A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: "These are the redundant ideas of an ideological mantra. No matter how widely, easily or speedily available so-called sexual health services are made, all the evidence suggests they have no impact." [BBC Online, 17 July] John Smeaton, SPUC national director, commented: "Government policy of improving access to abortion puts women facing crisis pregnancies under even greater pressure to abort and seeks to reduce abortion to a trivial procedure."

Leaders of the Catholic Church in Scotland have written to the British prime minister, Mr Gordon Brown, calling on him to give longer time for consultation on the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill. In their letter, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow highlight the proposal to remove the requirement to consider the child's need for a father before offering IVF treatment: "We believe that the state should not deny the child's need for a father nor ignore a wealth of social research findings upholding the notion that deliberately planning to have fatherless children is inimical to their long-term welfare." [Christian Today, 17 July, and Herald, 18 July]

The British government's principal medical advisor wants the law to assume that people wish to donate their organs after death, and the British Medical Association agrees with him. Sir Liam Donaldson suggests that a shortage of organs proves the need for an opt-out system. The Patient Concern group said that organ donation was "a generous gift, not an obligation". [BBC, 17 July]

International pro-abortion groups are reportedly targeting Irish youth to promote their own aims for more pervasive sex education, access to contraception and legal abortion. The Irish Family Planning Association hosted a Young Decision-Makers conference, which was addressed by William Smith of the Sexuality Education Information Council in the US and other sex-education advocates. Roger Eldredge, chairman of the National Men's Council of Ireland, warned that the international abortion lobby was pouring money into creating a voice for themselves by using vulnerable teenage children, and pledged that pro-family advocates would not stand by and allow Ireland's children "to be used and abused by fast-talking unidentified strangers". [LifeSite, 17 July]

Dignitas, the Swiss assisted-suicide organisation, has been ordered to move out of its housing block headquarters after residents launched a campaign. Tenants of Zurich's 84 Gertrudstraße building said they regularly encountered propped up corpses in the lift and described the housing block as smelling of death. The petition to evict Dignitas - which has occupied a flat on the fourth floor for nine years, claiming 700 lives - was organised by 55-year-old resident Gloria Sonny. She said she suffered nightmares that she would be forced into one of the "death flats" against her will and made to drink the fatal cocktail. General secretary of Dignitas, Ludwig Minelli, said (through his lawyer) that he was "looking for new quarters" and would consider setting up in a caravan, giving Dignitas the freedom to move around. [The Guardian, 13 July]

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