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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Scottish abortion figures continue to rise

30 May 2007

Official figures show that the number of abortions carried out in Scotland is continuing to rise. There were 13,081 so-called therapeutic abortions in Scotland in 2006 compared with 12,603 in 2005. The rate is highest among women aged 16 to 19 (24.1 per 1000), and those aged 20 to 24 (23.6 per 1000) [ic Scotland 29 May] A SPUC Scotland spokesperson said: "Increasing numbers of women in Scotland are being failed by lack of counselling and support addressing the reasons they opt for abortion ... SPUC Scotland has warned that hundreds of women across Scotland face severe emotional trauma as a result of opting for abortion without being given the full facts or having their 'crises' addressed ... SPUC Scotland believes the statistics indicate the real social problems that lead women to choose abortion are not being addressed. Abortion has become preferable to addressing the problems of our society. We are more likely to say women in deprived areas should opt for abortion than address the issues that lead to poverty, for example." [SPUC Scotland, 29 May]

A debate on stem cell research has been published on the New Statesman website between Mr Icki Iqbal, who has Parkinson's disease, and Anthony Ozimic, political secretary of SPUC. Mr Iqbal argues in favour of embryonic stem cell research saying "they are the most effective for research" but giving no reasons for this opinion. He also claims it is acceptable because "there is no loss of life involved." He ended by saying "if this kind of research helps discover a cure for conditions like Parkinson's, then it should be encouraged." Anthony Ozimic argues that the pertinent question is the status of human embryos, and explains that they have full moral status as human beings and as persons, and that destroying them in the process of embryonic stem cell research is thus a moral wrong. He also notes that the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights not only states that "everyone has the right to life" (article 3) but also that "everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law." (article 6) [New Statesman 29 May]

A Canadian doctor has upset a family in British Columbia by suggesting that their conjoined baby girls should have been aborted. Dr Ken Walker, writing under the pen name Dr W Gifford-Jones, claimed that the twins were destined for ill health. However, despite being joined at the top of the skull, seven-month-old Tatiana and Kristina Hogan can sit up, eat solid food and play. [LifeSite, 18 May]

The founder of Project Rachel, an initiative that helps women to heal in the aftermath of abortion, has led a training session in Rome, so that the service might be offered around the world. It has already been adopted in 170 dioceses in the US and elsewhere. Victoria Thorn said that "the Church is uniquely qualified to deal with bringing healing to the millions of women who suffer from the grief and guilt associated with the most common woman's surgical procedure." [Zenit, 18 May]

Research conducted at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, suggests that eating plenty of apples during pregnancy protects the baby from developing respiratory problems, while eating fish at least once a week gives protection from eczema. [Channel 4, 21 May]

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