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Defending life from the moment of conception

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India losing 7,000 girls EACH DAY because of sex-selective abortion

8 March 2007

The Washington Times has published a feature article detailing the effects of sex-selective abortion in India. Journalist Julia Duin reports that the illegal practice of using ultrasound to determine the sex of unborn children and then aborting females has led to serious gender imbalance, with 814 girls to 1,000 boys being born in New Delhi in 2004; India as a whole is said by UNICEF to be losing 7,000 girls a day (2.5 million per year). Doctors who refuse to participate in female foeticide often find themselves ostracised by the medical profession and even threatened. A major reason for the reluctance to have girls is said to be the customary large dowries. Brides are sometimes abandoned or even killed if the groom's family is dissatisfied with the dowry received. [Washington Times, 7 March] The Institute for Family Policy (IPF), with 18 other organisations that have UN consultative status, last week presented a report on these issues to the 51st session of the Committee on the Situation of Women held at UN headquarters which put the number of 'missing' women worldwide at 100 million, mostly from India and China.[LifeSite, 6 March]

Researchers in South Korea, where the fraudulent research of human cloning scientist Hwang Woo-Suk recently caused an international scandal, are investigating ways of obtaining stem cells without destroying human life. Professor Han Yong-mahn of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology told the Korea Times: "To weed out ethical debate, we started last November, with financial support from the government, to delve into new technologies for creating human stem cells without using embryos... They are all in the initial stage. But as the world is rushing to take up these controversy-free stem cell techniques we need to get on the bandwagon ourselves". The techniques being investigated include dedifferentiation, which means reversing the processes by which stem cells become specific cells, and trying to produce stem cell-like cells from human sperm. [LifeNews, 6 March]

A descendant of Dred Scott, a black American who in 1857 lost his case in the Supreme Court, which decided that black people were not persons and could be enslaved, has spoken of her opposition to abortion. Lynne Jackson, interviewed by Baptist newspaper The Pathway, spoke of the violence of abortion and said that seeing a video of an abortion procedure confirmed her pro-life views. [LifeNews, 6 March]

In its statement to the 51st session of the Commission on the Status of Women [Holy See Mission, 2 March], the Holy See delegation highlighted issues of prostitution, forced marriages, and sex selective abortion "[A]bortion, often considered a tool of liberation, is ironically employed by women against women." Professor Mary Anne Dantuono told the Commission. The statement also said that "The promotion of women will be achieved not only by the legitimate vindication of women's rights. With that there must also be established a fresh appreciation of authentically feminine values in the heart of our societies."

The family of a Cuban pro-life activist imprisoned for his defence of human rights has appealed to the international community to campaign for his release. Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, a campaigner against abortion and the death penalty, is the founder and president of the Lawton Foundation of Human Rights, which campaigns non-violently in defence of human rights. His wife, Elsa Morejon, writes "we request the immediate solidarity and cooperation of dignitaries, physicians, non-governmental human rights organizations, and of all those who value life's dignity so that my husband is able to receive medical treatment, is removed from the harsh prison conditions he is being subjected to and is immediately and unconditionally released". Amnesty International recognised Dr Biscet as a prisoner of conscience in 1999. [LifeSite, 6 March]

A High Court judge has ruled that life-sustaining treatment, including nutrition and hydration, may be withdrawn from a comatose woman. The patient, referred to as SW went into a so-called permanent vegetative state after an accident in 2003. Although she initially improved considerably, her condition then deteriorated and she has not appeared to be conscious since September 2005. Sir Mark Potter, giving his ruling, said "Being confident that SW was not aware of herself, her condition, or her environment, and based on previous conversations with SW at times when she was well and active, the family believe that she would not herself wish to remain alive in her present condition. I have no doubt they are correct." [Daily Mail, 6 March]

A US poll conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post has reported a decline in the number of Americans who support legal abortion. The survey asked over 1000 people: "Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases?" 55% supported legal abortion in all or most cases, compared with 43% who wanted abortion to be illegal in all or most cases. Support for legal abortion in all cases has dropped from 20% in 2005 to 16%. [Lifenews.com, 5 March]

The Polish Deputy Prime Minister Roman Giertych has provoked controversy in the German media by calling on the European Union to ban abortion. Giertych was speaking at a meeting of education ministers of the EU in Heidelberg. Giertych called legal abortion "a new form of barbarism." Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski criticised his colleague, stating: "This is a question about how far a democratic country can go. I believe the state cannot force a woman to give birth to a child after a rape." Polish law currently permits abortion on grounds including rape, disability and serious risk to the mother. A recent opinion poll suggests that the majority of Poles are in favour of a proposed amendment to the constitution to protect the right to life from conception to natural death. [Poland.pl, 6 March] [Lifenews.com, 5 March] [EUX.TV, 2 Mar]

The Holy See has warned the UN's Commission on the Status of Women that abortion does not liberate women. Archbishop Celestino Migliore drew particular attention to the practice of sex selective abortion against baby girls and the relegation of women in some parts of the world to second-class citizens and disposable property. He said that abortion 'is ironically employed by women against women'. Also at the CSW conference, members Canada Silent No More are participating in a workshop entitled: "Breast Cancer and Reproductive Health" Speakers include Dr Joel Brind and Dr Angela Lanfranchi, a breast cancer surgeon. [Lifenews.com, 5 March] [Lifenews.com, 5 March]

Israel is experiencing a baby boom following the war with Lebanon. The number of women having more than four children has risen by 35% in a year, according to Israel's biggest health organisation. [Reuters, 5 March]

A 54-year-old woman is to advertise for an egg donor on London buses, BBC reports. Linda Weeks will stop being eligible for treatment at her London IVF clinic in one year's time and is spending £2000 on the appeal following an unsuccessful advert in a local shop last year. [BBC, 5 March]

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