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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Researcher claims that men can experience 'phantom pregnancies'

15 June 2007

Men can experience phantom pregnancies, according to research by a British researcher. Dr Arthur Brennan from St George's University of London monitored 282 men whose partners were pregnant and compared their mental and physical wellbeing to 281 men who were not expectant fathers. Symptoms such as stomach cramps, nausea, mood-swings and cravings were reported. Dr Brennan said: "These men were so attuned to their partners, they started to develop the same symptoms. Some people may perceive this as men trying to get in on the act, but far from being attention-seeking, these symptoms are involuntary. Often the men haven't got a clue about what's happening to them. Doctors don't recognise Couvade syndrome - there's no medical diagnosis. Yet this research proves that Couvade syndrome really exists - the results speak for themselves." [Daily Mail, 13 June]

The Vatican has urged Catholics not to donate money to Amnesty International because of its support for abortion. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said there should be "No more financing of Amnesty International after the organisation's pro-abortion about-turn." Kate Gilmore, Amnesty's deputy secretary general, accused the Church of misrepresenting its policy, claiming that Amnesty was not promoting abortion as a universal right but, rather, as a woman's right to choose in cases such as rape, incest or when their health is at risk. [BBC, 13 June]

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, has called on British politicians to study the Catholic Church's teaching on life issues. The cardinal made a statement regarding the forthcoming Day for Life in England and Wales, which will take place on 1 July with the theme 'blessed is the fruit of your womb'. He said: "I would urge all Catholics, especially those who hold positions of public responsibility, to educate themselves about the teaching of the Church, and to seek pastoral advice so that they can make informed decisions with consistency and integrity. The Catholic Church believes that every life has been created by God in his own image and likeness. This means that all life is sacred, with value and meaning at every stage and in every condition, from the moment of conception to the point of natural death. It is for this reason that the Church strongly opposes abortion because it is the taking of an innocent human life." [Zenit, 13 June]

Advice to the British government warns of a crisis in teenage sexual health. The Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV blames alcohol, drugs and celebrity-culture for the UK's high rate of teenage pregnancy and sexual infection. The group, which includes the chief executive of Fpa (formerly the Family Planning Association), called for more widely available condoms. The government says sexual health is a priority. [BBC, 15 June]

Mrs Ann Winterton, the Conservative MP, has said she is not deterred after her bill to introduce compulsory counselling and a week-long cooling off period before abortion was defeated in the British parliament. She said: "The bill's primary purpose is to ensure that women are properly informed of the possible effects on their physical or mental health following abortion. It seeks to inform women what grants and help are available, to which they are entitled should they decide to exercise their right to proceed with their pregnancy." She accused the current legislation of "reversing the abortion law to the days of back-street abortions." [icCheshire online, 13 June]

The Mozambique government is reviewing the country's ban on abortion and is expected to submit legislation to change the law. Abortion is currently banned in the country except if the life or health of the pregnant woman is in danger. Esperança Machavela, justice minister, recently said that new legislation on abortion would be discussed after the country's parliament reconvenes in October. [AFP/Yahoo! on Medical News Today, 13 June]

Indian police have arrested a man for allegedly performing sex-selective abortion. Foetal remains were found in a well in Haryana state. [BBC, 14 June]
Stem cells from the brains of aborted unborn children have been used in research into Parkinson's disease in animals by American scientists. Researchers from the Harvard Institutes of Medicine in Boston isolated stem cells from the brains of aborted embryos, grew them into large numbers and injected them into the brains of monkeys which suffered from severe, chemically-induced Parkinson's disease. The monkeys reportedly improved in health after the treatment, with some regaining the ability to walk, feed themselves and move more normally after two months. [Nature, 11 June]

Life, the UK pro-life group, is worried about proposed tests for charities which would require them to demonstrate benefit to the public. Mr Niall Gooch is described as being concerned that public opinion would be considered when determining such benefit, so that pro-life education work might be threatened. [LifeSite, 14 June]

Smoking in pregnancy could damage male children's subsequent fertility, according to research by Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. [Reuters, 14 June]

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