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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Oxford study disputes alcohol pregnancy dangers

16 November 2007

A study at Oxford University, UK, and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests that there is little evidence that occasional heavy drinking during pregnancy can harm the unborn baby. Dr Ron Gray, lead author, said that women should not take the report as a licence to drink alcohol during pregnancy, but that it offers reassurance to those who may have had the occasional session of heavy drinking, particularly before they realised they were pregnant. Health professionals still advise against drinking alcohol during pregnancy. [BBC, 14 November]

A pro-life group in Colorado has gained approval from the state's supreme court to start collecting signatures for a ballot proposal for a constitutional amendment that would define a human embryo as a person from fertilisation. In approving the language of the proposal, the court over-ruled objections from the pro-abortion lobby. Colorado for Equal Rights has six months in which to collect 76,000 signatures. Similar campaigns are being run in five other states. [Guardian, 14 November]

Quintuplets born to a Russian woman in a British hospital are doing well. The babies were delivered at 26 weeks by caesarean section by Dr Lawrence Impey of the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. He was contacted by the mother's relatives after her doctor in Russia had advised selective abortion for some of the babies. All medical costs have been met by a group of Russian philanthropists. [Mirror, 15 November]

A British woman, Sarah Wiffen, has given birth following keyhole surgery to correct a prolapsed womb. The operation was carried out at the Royal Bolton Hospital by Mr Jonathan Broome, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist. Mr Broome also delivered the baby by caesarean section. It is thought to be the first birth after such a procedure. [BBC, 13 November]

Scientists at Aberdeen University, Scotland, have found that women who smoke during pregnancy could harm their sons' fertility. The chemicals in cigarette smoke affect the gene that controls the development of the testicles, and this could later result in lower sperm counts. [PA on Channel 4, 14 November]

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