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Defending life from the moment of conception

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SPUC urges all MPs to reject abortion 'deals'

3 September 2007

SPUC is urging parliamentarians, whatever their views, not to table amendments on abortion when the Human Tissue and Embryos bill comes before Parliament later this year. The Society fears that the Government and leading figures like Lord Steel want to make a tacit "deal" with pro-life parliamentarians, pro-life groups and faith groups, offering a lower upper time limit for most social abortions in exchange for making abortion more easily accessible. John Smeaton, SPUC national director, said: "Trading the lives of some unborn children, disabled unborn babies in particular, to try to save the lives of others, is wrong and it doesn't work. Whatever time limit is agreed, parliamentarians will insist on further exceptions and the overall effect is more abortions, as happened in the tragic legislation passed by Parliament in 1990." [SPUC, 2 September] British MPs want to liberalise the abortion law by making it unnecessary to have the approval of a doctor and by enabling nurses and midwives to carry out the procedure. They also want to increase the number of clinics offering early abortions, making it unnecessary for women to go to licensed centres. The cross-party coalition of MPs plans to raise the proposals during discussion of the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill later this year, and is expected to be backed by several senior figures, including Ms Harriet Harman MP, the ruling Labour party's deputy leader. [Independent on Sunday, 2 September]

Two leading fertility clinics in Britain are offering to freeze healthy women's eggs so that they can delay motherhood. The freezing of eggs has so far only been offered for cancer patients about to have chemotherapy, which would render them infertile. The procedure uses a technique called vitrification, which involves freezing the eggs in liquid nitrogen, and costs between £2,500 and £3,000 per cycle, in which one egg is frozen. [Telegraph, 3 September]

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has called for widespread legalisation of abortion in the European Union (EU). In Why We Need to Talk About Abortion, the IPPF targets the predominantly Catholic countries of Slovakia, Malta, Ireland, Portugal and Poland, and urges the EU Commission and European parliamentarians to drive the issue of abortion forward, despite the fact that the EU has repeatedly said that abortion is outside its remit and should be left to member states. [Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, 30 August]

Members are resigning from Amnesty International over their new stance on supporting a right to abortion. According to the Independent newspaper, Amnesty branches in Birmingham, Kent, Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle, England, have been affected by the resignation of long-standing supporters. Mr Neville White, chairman of the Bromley and Orpington, Kent, group, said: "I think the leadership of Amnesty have failed to grasp how divisive this policy has been and instead taken the view that they must not buckle to the views of local campaigners. Much of the strength of Amnesty lies in the work of its local activists who are on the streets weekend after weekend and yet the consultation of the membership was at best too brief and lacking in the necessary depth to tackle such a sensitive subject." [Independent, 1 September]

The United Nations has warned that increasing female foeticide in India may lead to a demographic crisis. The UN's population fund estimated that 2,000 unborn girls are illegally aborted every day in India due to the traditional preference for boys over girls, and warned that the consequences will include skewing of the population and a possible rise in sexual violence, child abuse and wife sharing. [Reuters, 31 August]

The Catholic Church in Mexico has signed a declaration stating that the unborn have the right to be recognised and treated as human individuals. The Declaration of Human Rights of the Unborn, which is the work of more than 100 specialists in law, bioethics, medicine and education, will be presented to the Mexican Congress in support of an amendment to the constitution. [CNA, 31 August]

The Swedish government plans to cut aid to several countries with pro-life elements in their laws, including Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Peru. The government did not explicitly cite the countries' anti-abortion policies as the reason for the decision, but an anonymous source, quoted in La Prensa, the Nicaraguan newspaper, said that the Swedish leadership was concerned about the issue of therapeutic abortion. Wilfredo Navarro, a representative in the Nicaraguan congress, said: "The Swedes have been exerting pressure and conditioning all of their aid on meddling, principally the ambassador Eva Zetterberg ... The basis for removing Swedish aid is the topic of abortion. Zetterberg is an open sponsor of abortion in Nicaragua." [LifeSite, 31 August]

Women who undergo fertility treatment have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy, according to an American study. Researchers at Boston, Massachusetts, university studied more than 5,000 women who gave birth between 1998 and 2006. They found that women who had undergone fertility treatment had a higher rate of gestational hyper-tension and pre-eclampsia, probably because of the higher frequency of pregnancies with multiple embryos. [Reuters, 31 August]

The Catholic archbishop of Glasgow, Scotland, has lamented the spread of abortion and euthanasia. In a sermon to mark the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's visit to Scotland in 1982, Most Rev Mario Conti warned against the "ever-increasing incidence of abortion and the creeping acceptance of euthanasia". [Herald, 3 September]

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