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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Study suggests link between abortion and premature birth

5 November 2007

A study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine suggests a link between abortion and premature birth in subsequent pregnancies, which, in turn, increases the child's risk of cerebral palsy due to low birth-weight. The study, led by Dr Byron Calhoun, professor and vice chair of obstetrics and gynaecology at West Virginia University, used data from more than four million births and found that about one third of births at 32 weeks' gestation or less were linked to prior abortions. About eight percent of low birth-weight premature babies developed cerebral palsy. Previous research from the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences also found a correlation between abortion and subsequent premature births. [LifeNews, 1 November]

A British woman who has been in a coma for seven years has shown signs of improvement after being given the Zolpidem drug. Amy Pickard suffered severe brain-damage after a heroin overdose, and is being cared for at the Raphael Medical Centre in Hildenborough, Kent. Her mother said that she noticed an improvement in her daughter within about 20 minutes of her taking the drug, and that she is making steady progress. [BBC, 31 October]

Argentina's president-elect recently claimed to be opposed to abortion but, when asked to clarify her statement, Ms Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's equivocal reply appeared to affirm her party's pro-legalisation position. She maintained that those campaigning for decriminalisation were not in favour of abortion. [LifeSite, 30 October]

Pharmacies in Chile have been warned that they could face heavy fines and closure if they refuse to sell morning-after pills. The government has imported supplies in response to the claim that the drug could not be bought locally. A statement from one of the pharmacy chains expressed the view that the pill was abortifacient, and claimed the right of conscientious objection to providing it. [BBC, 30 October]

More than 80,000 girls aged 13 to 16 attended contraception clinics in Britain last year. The proportion of under 16s seeking advice has risen from six percent to 8.5% over the last decade. Mr Mike Judge of the Christian Institute said that children had been let down by not being empowered to delay sexual activity. [Telegraph, 30 October]

Research published in the British Medical Journal found that women who chose to have caesarean section for non-medical reasons were putting themselves and their babies at greater risk of serious complications. Experts said the study was a reminder that caesarean sections carried risks and should not be seen as just another delivery option. [Telegraph, 31 October, and Sun, 31 October]

The risks associated with smoking during pregnancy are such that mothers who smoke should be treated as high-risk cases, according to an obstetrician working in the north of England. Dr Shonag McKenzie told a conference of professionals that these women should be offered early ultra-sound scans to monitor the growth of their babies. [Northern Echo, 31 October]

The Institute of Food Research has said that a plan for compulsory addition of folic acid to flour, in order to reduce birth defects, could raise a cancer hazard for people eating treated flour products. The government's Food Standards Agency has agreed the plan, Ministers will decide whether to go ahead with the scheme. [Daily Mail, 30 October]

Research published in the British Medical Journal has found that patients admitted to intensive care with chronic lung diseases tend to have higher survival rates than doctors predict. This has led to the suggestion that patients may be being denied intensive care due to over-pessimistic prognoses. Dr Martin Wildman, a consultant in respiratory medicine at the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, UK, who led the research, said: "Some clinicians have the perception that, if patients did survive, they would have an awful level of function and would be miserable. But other research shows most patients who survive would choose to be intubated [fitted with a tube to help them breathe] again". [BBC, 2 November]

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