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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Steel backs plan for abortion-on-demand

9 March 2007

Lord (David) Steel, the author of the 1967 Abortion Act, has endorsed a campaign for the law to be changed to allow abortion on demand in early pregnancy. The campaign was launched last Saturday by the Abortion Rights group. [Guardian, 8 March] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "We hope that this marks an end to the often-repeated claim - rebutted by David Steel himself - that David Steel regrets the Abortion Act and wants the law to go in a different direction. Any well-meant - but imprudent - attempt by pro-lifers to amend the Abortion Act at present is likely to be hijacked by such proposals because of the strong pro-abortion bias of the current parliament and executive."

The Portuguese parliament has voted to allow abortion on demand in early pregnancy. The vote followed last month's referendum, in which a majority of those who voted (though not of eligible voters) agreed with allowing the change. The law is expected to be signed by Portugal's president, though the law is unlikely to come into effect for several months. [International Herald Tribune, 9 March]

The number of births in Scotland has outnumbered the number of deaths for the first time since 1994. Statistics for 2006 recorded 55,690 births (up 2.3% on 2005) and 55,089 deaths (down 1.2% on 2005). However, Professor Robert Wright, a professor of economics at Strathclyde University, commented: "I would not expect to see fertility to continue to increase at this rate...The number of deaths will increase in the future because of the ageing population. We cannot get away from that. There is not going to be another baby boom in the future." [The Scotsman, 9 March] SPUC comment: These figures do not take into account around 12,000 unborn children conceived but killed by abortion annually in Scotland.

Scientists at the University of Iowa believe they have identified new genetic mutations that may cause cleft lip and palate. The researchers believe that genes in the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) are relevant to the development of the common or non-syndromic form of cleft lip and palate. [Medical News Today, 8 March]

A campaign to draw awareness to the effect abortion has on women has marked International Women's Day. Speaking on behalf of Silent No More, Jennifer O'Neill, the actress, author and model, commented: "As women being silent no more about the harm abortion has caused us personally, we know that NOW [American pro-abortion group the National Organization of Women] and their compatriot organizations that promote abortion, do not represent us. We also know abortion is not good for women's health and it is not empowering." [LifeSite, 8 March] SPUC and British Victims of Abortion launched the Silent No More campaign in the United Kingdom last year.

A baby who was resuscitated after an abortion at 22 weeks is now in intensive care. The mother requested the abortion at the Meyer hospital in Florence, Italy, after being told that her baby was likely to have internal deformities. This proved to be false. Italian law requires resuscitation to be given for a baby of more than 90 days gestation who shows signs of life after an abortion. [The Guardian, 8 March]

A woman in Massachusetts is suing Planned Parenthood for the cost of raising her twin daughters after a failed abortion. Despite being told in July 2004 that she was no longer pregnant, Jennifer Draper learned in September that the abortion had not been successful, and she gave birth in December. The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that damages in wrongful birth suits must be limited to extraordinary medical expenses associated with disabilities. [Lifenews, 7 March]

The Metropolitan Medical Associates abortion centre in Englewood, New Jersey, has remained closed after an inspection by the state health department. The deficiencies in infection control and sterilization of equipment had not been put right. The centre which annually performs more abortions than most states in the US, was closed more than two weeks ago after a patient went into a coma. It was temporarily closed for health and safety violations in 1993, and another woman is also taking a lawsuit against it. [Lifenews, 7 March]

An Indian state consumer court has upheld an insurance claim for the death of an unborn child, declaring that a human foetus is a living, growing organism, and therefore entitled to personhood. Mrs Kanta Kotecha filed a claim for the death of her unborn grandchild who died after a car crash which killed four other family members. Her claim had been rejected by the insurance company and the district forum. [LifeSite, 7 March]

A woman who has been in a coma for seven years, and diagnosed as being in a so-called persistent vegetative state, woke up on Sunday and started to speak and eat. Christa Lilly of Colorado Springs, US, who suffered a heart attack and a stroke in 2000, has experienced periods of wakefulness before, but has not spoken. She has since relapsed in to unconsciousness. Her neurologist, Dr. Randall Bjork, said of the events: "This is all mystical and I can't explain it." [LifeSite, 7 March]

A Catholic priest in the diocese of Nashville, Tennessee, is starting a group for men who are suffering after an experience of abortion. Fr Steve Wolf says that the lack of a role in the abortion decision can have life-long consequences for men. The strong emotions of rage, impotence, or grief can lead to destructive behaviours. His new group, Sons of Adam, will allow men to talk about their experience and feelings in confidence. [Diocese of Nashville, 23 February]

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