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Defending life from the moment of conception

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SPUC mourns the death of Ian Campbell

3 October 2007

SPUC mourns the death of Mr Ian Campbell, the pro-life politician who died on the ninth of September aged 81. Mr Campbell was a Labour member of parliament from 1970 to 1987. In 1975 he co-sponsored Mr James White's bill which sought to tighten the 1967 Abortion Act. The following year, he presented in parliament a petition bearing 425,000 signatures on behalf of SPUC. [Telegraph, 2 October]

A representative of the Holy See has called on the United Nations to ensure that the right to human life is respected. In an address to the 62nd session of the general assembly in New York, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, said: "We must work to stop and reverse the culture of death embraced by some social and legal structures that try to make the suppression of life acceptable by disguising it as a medical or social service." [Vatican Information Service on EWTN, 2 October]

A health professor has warned that the growing number of women who regularly take morning-after pills are risking their chances of motherhood. The manufacturers claim that it is safe if taken only once in each menstrual cycle, but Olga Van den Akker, professor of health psychology at Middlesex University, UK, said that we do not know what the long term effects of these hormonal preparations are for women's health and fertility. [Daily Mail, 3 October]

Three pharmaceutical firms in the UK have set up a consortium with the government to develop embryonic stem cells for testing drugs. GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Roche are inaugurating Stem Cells for Safer Medicines, the first involvement of the industry in embryonic stem cell research. Philip Wright of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry will serve as chief executive of the new body. The first £1million project will be to develop liver cells to test for toxicity of new drugs. [Financial Times, 3 October] It is claimed that human liver cells would give earlier warning of toxicity than animal testing, which could then be reduced. [Guardian, 3 October]

Women who have Caesarean sections may be more likely to suffer a ruptured womb when attempting a subsequent vaginal delivery. The research carried out at the Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, found that other factors which increased the risk included age, obesity, and induced labour. Dr Melissa Kaczmarcsyk, who led the research, said it was important that patients were made aware of the risks. There is concern that the Caesarean rate in Britain has risen to 30%. [Times, 3 October, and BBC, 3 October]

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