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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Brown government "may be as anti-life as Blair's"

27 June 2007

27 June 2007 SPUC has warned that Mr Gordon Brown's new British government may be as anti-life as that of Mr Tony Blair, his predecessor as prime minister. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "Mr Brown has voted consistently in favour of abortion. In 1990, he voted with the pro-abortion lobby no fewer than 16 times - three times for abortion up to birth, including for disabled babies; twice for abortion on demand in early pregnancy; once to extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland; once for selective foeticide in multiple pregnancies; once to facilitate RU486; once to suppress information about abortions on disabled babies; and seven times for other pro-abortion positions. He also voted five times to promote destructive embryo experimentation. More recently, Mr Brown launched the International Finance Facility to raise money for the Millennium Development Goals, goals which the Labour government interprets as including a universal human right to abortion on demand." Mr Blair endorsed government policy of supplying abortion and birth control drugs and devices to schoolgirls as young as 11 without parental knowledge or consent. His government introduced legislation which has led to the Mental Capacity Act which allows, and in certain circumstances requires, doctors to starve and dehydrate vulnerable patients to death. Mr Blair, as prime minister, personally championed destructive experiments on human embryos. In 1990, he voted for abortion up to birth three times during parliamentary debates on what became the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. [SPUC, 27 June ] A doctors' representative body has voted in favour of a reduction in the number of physicians needed to approve abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The British Medical Association approved a call for just one doctor to need to sign the form instead of two as at present. The association's annual conference in Devon, England, rejected a proposal that midwives and nurses should do abortions. [BBC, 27 June ] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "The call for abortion to be made more freely available in early pregnancy is inept. This would lead to even greater pressure on women, with less opportunity for them to reflect before making a decision, and therefore will lead to greater numbers of abortions. Most people agree that there are too many abortions already. We call on the government, the medical profession and all those concerned to reverse the current policies which encourage abortions." SPUC was concerned about the procedural propriety of the BMA's vote. Mrs Christine Hudson of SPUC's south-west region, who lobbied delegates at the BMA meeting, said: "Why were the pro-abortion motions prioritised, and other motions that raise questions about abortion safety, conscientious objection and discriminatory abortion of disabled babies sidelined?" [SPUC, 27 June ] The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have said that human-animal hybrid embryos conceived in the laboratory should be regarded as human and their genetic mothers should be able to raise them as their own children if they want to. In a submission to the parliamentary committee on the draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, the bishops opposed the creation of an embryo solely for research, but were anxious to limit the destruction of such life once it had been brought into existence. They went on to say that most of the procedures covered by the Bill "should not be licensed under any circumstances" principally on the grounds that they violated human rights. [Daily Telegraph 27 June ] The Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs Council has challenged an apparent Government change of mind on a child's need for a father in a submission to the Parliamentary joint committee on the draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill. On the question of children born by IVF the Council said that removing the requirement to take account of "the need of that child for a father" in the draft Bill "would send an entirely erroneous signal about the significance of fathers, especially at a time when many children and families are suffering because of lack of attention and care from absent fathers." The submission gave a cautious acceptance to the proposal to produce hybrid embryos for research into so-called serious diseases. [Christian Today 26 June ] Michael Dwyer of Birmingham, father of two young daughters, whose seven months pregnant partner Sarah Hunt was knocked down and killed by a car has launched an online petition to get "justice for Connor", his unborn son. He hopes to achieve a new law which would allow killers of unborn children to be prosecuted. [Birmingham Mail 26 June ] Laws against homicide do not protect the child in the womb unless the child is born alive and subsequently dies from injuries sustained. Dr Michael Munro, a consultant neonatologist in Aberdeen, Scotland, has been summoned to appear before the 'fitness to practise' panel of the General Medical Council following an investigation into the deaths of two premature babies at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital in 2005. If found guilty he could be struck off the medical register. Dr. Munro is alleged to have hastened the deaths of the two babies be administering pancuronium, a muscle relaxant used in general anaesthesia, and also in euthanasia in Belgium and Holland, and in capital punishment in some American states. [Scotsman 27 June ] Despite a campaign by the British Government to promote normal deliveries of babies, 23.5% of all British babies were born by caesarean section in 2005-6, up from 22.9% in 2004. The number has more than doubled since 1989. A caesarean birth can increase a baby's chance of breathing difficulties, and mothers may find it hard to bond with the child while recovering from the surgery. Mary Newburn of the National Childbirth Trust said "We are concerned that the caesarean rate seems to be increasing. More needs to be done if we are to meet the World Health Organisation's recommendation of a 10 to 15 per cent caesarean rate." [Daily Mail 26 June ]

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