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Defending life from the moment of conception

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US bishops issue voting advice on abortion

15 November 2007

A document from the US Catholic bishops' conference tells voters: "The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life is always wrong and is not just one issue among many." Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, issued after the bishops' autumn meeting, outlines the role of conscience and the need for Catholics to follow Church teaching when casting their votes. [Guardian, 14 November, and CNA on EWTN, 14 November] The New York Times describes the document as "Allowing Some Flexibility on Issue of Abortion" in its headline. It bases this on the phrase in the document: "There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate's unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons". [New York Times, 15 November]

A commentary by Mr Dennis Byrne in the Chicago Tribune has noted that the mainstream media's almost universal decision to ignore a study linking abortion and breast cancer can only result in more hurt to women. The study, by Mr Patrick Carroll, a statistician and actuary, published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, found that abortion was "the best predictor of breast cancer" in eight European countries. [LifeSite, 12 November, Chicago Tribune 22 October

The British Fertility Society has said in new guidelines that obese women should be refused fertility treatment until they lose weight, enabling them to give birth safely. Overweight women are less likely to conceive because fat disrupts hormones which regulate ovulation, and many women who lose weight find they conceive naturally. Dr Colin Waine, chair of the National Obesity Forum, said: "... it is good that [obese women] will be offered the chance to lose weight. But to deny someone fertility treatment just because they are obese is a form of discrimination." [Telegraph, 13 November]

Dignitas, the so-called assisted suicide organisation based in Zurich, Switzerland, is facing increasing pressure from the country's authorities to stop offering its services to non- citizens. Mr Ludwig Minelli, the lawyer who set up Dignitas, claims he is providing a service to terminally ill people, but the authorities feel that so-called suicide tourism is bad for Switzerland's image. Outright critics note it is a cynical business costing patients nearly €5,000 a time. [Irish Times, 13 November]

A study in the Journal of Pediatrics has noted that babies born at between 34 and 36 weeks' gestation (only a few weeks before the 37-week mark that is considered full-term) are six times more likely to die in their first week of life than full term babies, and three times more likely to die before their first birthday. Ms Joann Petrini, director of the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center which did the research, said that doctors should make use of this information when deciding whether to induce delivery or perform a caesarean before full term. [Reuters, 13 November]

Australian euthanasia campaigner and practitioner Dr Philip Nitschke has launched a bid as an independent parliamentary candidate. He is running against Liberal frontbencher Mr Kevin Andrews for the second time. Mr. Andrews overturned the effect of euthanasia legislation in Australia's Northern Territory 10 years ago. [Australian, 13 November]

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