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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 4 to 10 July

10 July 2007

weekly update, 4 to 10 July The British government has confirmed that it supports population control in Africa. Speaking in the House of Lords, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon said: "The Government are committed to improving sexual and reproductive health, including family planning, across Africa. In 2006, [the Department for International Development] provided £25.1 million to [the United Nations Population Fund] and £7.5 million to the International Planned Parenthood Federation to support work on sexual and reproductive health and rights. We also work at country level and are funding reproductive health services in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe, enabling women, men and adolescents to avoid unwanted pregnancy and HIV." She also said: "We firmly believe that policy should be driven not by moral ideology, but by a firm evidence base," adding that she meant this specifically in reference to issues such as abortion. [House of Lords Hansard, 9 July ] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "The British government's renewed commitment to spreading the culture of death abroad makes all the more worrying Baroness Amos' nomination to the post of European Union special representative to the African Union." Schools in Britain can now give abortifacient morning-after pills to girls as young as 11 without telling their parents. As part of the government campaign to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, sexual health clinics which provide the pills and other means of birth control, are being set up in secondary schools. Norman Wells, the director of Family and Youth Concern, described the policy as "undermining the law on the age of consent." Gill Frances, chairman of the Government's independent advisory group on teenage pregnancy, said: "Of course we wish under 16s were not having sex at all, but if they are it is important that they are protected from sexually-transmitted diseases and having babies." [Telegraph, 9 July ] Doctors in Argentina have protested against the government's recent attempts to liberalise abortion. The Buenos Aires Catholic Doctors Consortium (CDC) has released a statement saying that doctors will not carry out abortions and that they have the right to conscientious objection. The CDC statement said: "Natural [law] teaches unequivocally that the right to life is the first of all human rights and no one can dispose of it. Therefore neither politicians, nor legislators nor authorities can expect doctors, who by vocation, profession and tradition swear to protect life and health, to practise abortion, killing the smallest and most helpless of all human beings." [LifeSite, 9 July ] Two American nurses have admitted administering overdoses of drugs to a terminally ill woman in an act that they claimed to be assisted suicide. Rebecca Cain and Diana Corson, speaking to the Oregon State Board of Nursing, said that they had given a lethal dose of morphine and phenobarbital to Wendy Melcher, who had cancer, during their work at Providence St. Vincent Hospice. The family of Ms Melcher have called her consent into question. Their spokesman, Mara Woloshin, said: "The family wants some answers. This family is bleeding from the emotional pain. They have been broadsided. They think someone may have participated in ending Melcher's life prematurely without (Melcher's) consent." William Toffler, a faculty member at the Oregon Health Sciences University and national director of Physicians for Compassionate Care, said this case was not physician-assisted suicide, which is legal in the state, but nurse-assisted suicide which is not. He said: "It's outside the law, and if being outside the law is criminal, it's criminal." [LifeSite, 9 July ]

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