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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Argentina overturns decision to save unborn baby

19 September 2007

An unborn baby in Argentina could die after his or her grandfather's legal attempt to stop an abortion was thwarted. After an outcry from pro-abortion groups, a decision to save the child, whose mother is mentally ill, was overturned last week. The girl's father said: "One understands the complexity of the topic and the human pain that this produces, but we are convinced that the interruption of the pregnancy doesn't bring benefits to anyone." The country's Society of Catholic Lawyers said: "This is another attempt, by judicial means, to make innocent life vulnerable." Argentinian law permits abortion if a mentally ill girl is raped. [LifeSite, 17 September] It is unclear if rape took place in this case.

SPUC has applauded the Vatican's statement on the treatment of patients in a permanent vegetative state. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's political secretary, said: "Everyone, particularly Catholics, should be made aware that the Church teaches definitively that no advance directive, nor court decision, nor power of attorney can justify participation in starving or dehydrating anyone to death. We hope that this timely statement from the Vatican will be backed up with pastoral action here to support healthcare workers (of any faith) resisting pressure to co-operate in the killing-by-omission of their patients." [SPUC, 18 September]

A woman is suing an IVF practitioner, Dr Robert Armellin, after she gave birth to twins instead of only one child in November 2003. The unnamed 40-year-old and her partner are seeking over £167,000 for bringing up the extra child. Testifying in the Australian Capital Territory supreme court in Canberra, she said that offering the other twin for adoption would have been unfair on them both. [Irish Examiner, 18 September]

The Catholic Church in Northern Ireland has instructed schools to close their Amnesty International groups over the organisation's new stance on abortion. A church spokesman said: "The advice to the schools is that it would be inappropriate for [a] school branch to continue in existence in the context of Amnesty International's new position regarding abortion." The forthcoming meeting of the Irish bishops' conference will confirm their policy on this issue. [Guardian, 18 September] An Italian bishop has also criticised Amnesty. Speaking at the opening of the Italian bishops' conference, Monsignor Angelo Bagnasco said that Amnesty's inclusion of abortion as a human right was "astounding." [AP, 18 September]

A study in California has shown that many young women are not being informed of the risks that certain prescribed medicines can pose to their unborn children. Medicines that can cause disabilities include antibiotics, acne medications, cholesterol reducers and sleeping pills. [ABCmoney, 17 September]

Some potential Republican candidates for the US presidency were not at a recent forum to answer questions on abortion and other matters. Citing clashes in their schedule, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Fred Thompson all failed to attend the question-and-answer session in Fort Lauderdale. Jan Folger, president of Faith2Action, said: "They will regret their decision." [Guardian, 18 September] Mr Alan Keyes, a former US ambassador who has advanced pro-life views, did attend the debate. He announced his candidacy on Friday. [LifeSite, 17 September]

A BBC TV News feature reports on Mrs Penny Bassey from Nottinghamshire, who has been assisted by an NHS consultant, Dr Ben Lobo, to draw up an advance refusal of treatment. Mrs Bassey has motor neurone disease, and says that if she has a heart attack she would not want resuscitation. Asked about safeguards, reporter Rob Sissons says that solicitors must be involved if appointing another person to make decisions. The programme directs viewers to an NHS website promoting advance refusals ( [BBC (video)] SPUC comment: There is no requirement for legal advice when drawing up an advance directive under the Mental Capacity Act - though this can be equally dangerous as appointing someone else to make decisions.

A British overseas aid minister will address a conference on so-called safe abortion in London next month. Baroness Vadera of Holland Park, undersecretary of state for international development, will speak to the meeting arranged by Marie Stopes International, as will representatives of International Planned Parenthood and Catholics for a Free Choice. Dana Hovig, chief executive of Stopes, said she hoped the conference would: "expand women's access to safe abortion in their own countries." [PR on InvestEgate, 17 September]

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