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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Both leaders of the UK's main political parties support abortion up to birth for disabled children

14 August 2008

The leader of the opposition in the UK parliament has confirmed that he supports abortion for disability up to birth. Asked about the issue by an SPUC supporter at a meeting in Cumbria, England, Mr David Cameron MP said: "[I]n the case of parents who have medical evidence that they may have a very disabled child, I would not want to change that." Mr Cameron has a six-year-old son with cerebral palsy and quadriplegia, and he said: "Ivan [has] brought incredible things to my life but it is an enormous challenge and I don't think it's right to ... tell other parents ... that actually doing something about it isn't an option." He wanted a free parliamentary vote on such issues, and the time-limit for non-disabled abortion to be cut from 24 weeks to 20. Mr Gordon Brown MP, prime minister, also supports unlimited abortion of the disabled. [John Smeaton, 13 August]

SPUC has produced a briefing on amendments to the Abortion Act proposed as new clauses in the British government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. It concentrates mainly on the abortion amendments that pose the greatest threat if passed. One change would leave women more vulnerable to pressure to submit to an abortion. Another would let nurses and midwives carry out abortions. Another amendment would potentially turn every clinic and GP practice into an abortion centre. An amendment would force all doctors, nurses and pharmacists to prescribe, provide, dispense or administer "emergency contraception" or any other form of contraception when requested to do so.

Members of the Democrat party in the US will vote at their convention later this month on a slightly rewritten abortion policy. Proposed new wording still affirms support for Roe v. Wade and for so-called family planning and sex education. It says the two latter activities cut unwanted pregnancy and abortion. It adds: "The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman's decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre and post natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs." [LifeSiteNews, 12 August] A pro-life Democrat senator is to address convention. Mr Robert Casey of Pennsylvania will succeed where his father (who had the same name and the same views on abortion) failed. The latter was prevented from speaking in 1992. [Boston Globe, 13 August] A Jesuit priest is urging Senator Barack Obama, de facto Democrat presidential nominee, to support programmes to reduce abortion, and to welcome pro-life Catholics to the party. Rev John Kavanaugh suggests he challenges Senator John McCain, likely Republican candidate, over his alleged support for human embryo research. [Catholic News Agency, 13 August]

Canada is to have a national system to facilitate organ donation. There is to be national and state funding, and one organisation will coordinate the donation of blood as well as organs. [Medical News Today, 13 August]

A drug could one day mitigate the effects on the unborn of maternal drinking in pregnancy. Texas A&M University scientists found that doxapram protected the brains of unborn sheep whose mothers had consumed alcohol. Research in Russia and the Ukraine is looking at whether choline can do the same. [New Scientist, 13 August]

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