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UK minister welcomes rise in early abortions

20 June 2007

A British health minister, Caroline Flint, has welcomed the increase in early abortions and the use of the morning-after pill. She said "We welcome the fact that a higher percentage of abortions are taking place at an early stage ... we have invested £8 million to improve early access [to abortion]..." She admitted the government needed to do more to reduce the number of so-called unwanted pregnancies and called for an improvement in access to contraception. [Times 19 June] Yesterday we reported on how recorded abortions in England and Wales last year exceeded 200,000 for the first time.

The Irish Crisis Pregnancy Agency has noted a drop in the number of Irish women travelling to Britain for abortions for the sixth year in a row. In 2005 and last year the agency recorded a fall of 540. [Independent 19 June] This may be partly due to women travelling to abortion clinics in mainland Europe including the Netherlands. [Independent 20 June] Patrick Buckley of European Life Network, Dublin, said: "We welcome this reduction in the number of surgical abortions carried out on Irish women. Numbers have dropped substantially since CURA, the Catholic Church pregnancy counselling agency, stopped distributing the Crisis Pregnancy Agency leaflet, however the figures do not take account of the use of abortifacient birth control. The Crisis Pregnancy Agency methods lead to more promiscuity and more abortion. They are part of the problem not the solution and the sooner the agency is shut down the better."

The Polish government has announced that it will appeal against the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights of "wrongful birth" in favour of Alicja Tysiac, a 34-year-old mother of three who wished to abort her third child in 2003. She claimed her gynaecologist destroyed her referral to an abortion clinic, denying that her health was in danger. She has an eye condition which doctors thought would deteriorate due to the pregnancy. The court ordered Poland to pay €25,000 in compensation for "wrongful birth." Mr Jarosław Kaczyński, the Polish prime minister, said: "If we didn't appeal we would have to [liberalise] the anti-abortion laws in Poland and this wouldn't be good." The ruling is also feared to have an adverse effect on Poland's laws and sovereignty, since the court appeared to rule that EU norms supersede Polish law. [Life Site News 19 June] Liam Gibson of SPUC Northern Ireland said: "The European Convention on Human Rights does not recognise a right to abortion and, while the Court appears to have departed from its stated position that abortion law is a matter to be decided by individual nations, the crucial factor in this case was that the previous pro-abortion administration in Poland agreed with Ms Tysiac that her rights had been violated, essentially because of her doctors' conscientious objection. Even though this judgement was a travesty of human rights, it does not inevitably mean the liberalisation of Poland's abortion law. A constitutional ban on all abortions, like the one proposed earlier this year, would ensure that a case like this would never arise again."

A member of the European parliament has said that a report on economic development has been hijacked by supporters of abortion. Mr Niranjan Deva, MEP for south-east England, was speaking in the parliament about a document on the implementation of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. He said: "[The fifth goal] was originally to reduce maternal mortality by three quarters, but has recently been expanded to incorporate reproductive health as part of its remit ... [The goal] is deliberately about maternal mortality, and not about abortion - otherwise known as sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) in development-speak. Maternal mortality should not be sidelined in favour of SRHR." Mr Deva said he supported prenatal and postnatal healthcare. The UN statistics division had confirmed to him that they did not measure anything to do with abortion as part of the fifth development goal, because abortion was not a component of it. [Mr Deva's office, 19 June]

A team from Roslin Cells, a spin off of the Roslin Institute which created the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, have created a stem cell line from a clinically unusable human egg. The discovery means that eggs discarded in IVF treatment could be used to create stem cells for research. The finding is regarded as useful as there is currently a shortage of human eggs for research. [Scotsman 20 June][PA on Channel 4 News]

The Catholic archbishop of Mexico, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera has confirmed the Church's opposition to euthanasia in response to a bill introduced by the Democratic Revolution Party which would allow terminally ill patients to renounce every form of medical care which prolonged life. If the patient is unable to decide, a family member could make the decision. The party holds a majority in the legislature. The Cardinal said: "Euthanasia is one thing, dying well is another." [Zenit 19 June]

American Catholic bishop Arthur Serratelli has rebuked so called pro-choice Catholic politicians and those who "arrogantly insist that the church does not have the right to her own teaching" and who claim a right to Communion at the same time. He said "[The Pope] is right when he insists that supporting abortion is incompatible with the reception of Holy Communion." [Life Site News 19 June]

President Bush has praised the National Right to Life group as "fearless shepherds of the innocent and the unborn." He also mentioned his administration's achievements including the passage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and the subsequent US Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law. [Medical News Today 19 June]

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