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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Indian PM: "Gendercide is a national shame"

29 April 2008

India's prime minister has called gender-based abortion a national shame. Mr Manmohan Singh, who has three daughters, has vowed to stop the practice which reportedly kills half a million girls a year. Female births are 80% those of boys. [Daily Mail, 28 April] Mr Singh's objection seems to be based on concerns about discrimination and demography, rather than on opposition to abortion per se.

Mr Rudolph Giuliani, the pro-abortion Republican politician, is said to have received communion at Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict during his recent visit to America. Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop of New York, says he regrets the occurrence and has asked to meet Mr Giuliani. When the latter was mayor of the city, he and the archbishop had agreed that he would not receive communion because of his views. Abortion was a grave offence, the cardinal said. [Catholic News Service, 28 April]

The Irish Council for Bioethics has been criticised for approving research on human IVF embryos. Fr Kevin Doran wrote that it had been wrong to talk in terms of giving rights to embryos, since such rights derived from their nature and were human rights which could not be granted. He also said the council was being utilitarian by suggesting that, while it was reluctant to permit the destruction of embryos, it might allow the practice if it was useful. [Sunday Business Post, 27 April]

Just 100 out of the 20,000 beds in Ireland's healthcare system are devoted to palliative care. The National University, Galway, surveyed 300 institutions and also found regional variation, and staff working in palliative care without special training. The health service said it had recently increased funding. [Irish Times, 17 April]

Fathers should stay overnight in maternity-wards with their newborn babies and the babies' mothers, according to a British pressure-group. The Fatherhood Institute said there was research to suggest that such behaviour was beneficial. [Telegraph, 14 April] The midwives' organisation commented: "The midwife's primary role is to the mother and baby; however, we see the inclusion of the nuclear and extended family as key to supporting mothers and their children." [Royal College of Midwives, 14 April]

Women who start having sex young are more likely to have crisis-pregnancy. The Irish Study of Sexual Health and Relationships found that girls who lost their virginity in their early teens were 70% more likely to have such problems in adulthood, and three times more likely to have an abortion. The Crisis Pregnancy Agency, which commissioned the study, says it will promote delaying initial intercourse. [Evening Echo, 10 April]

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