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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Indian court rejects abortion for child with heart blockage

5 August 2008

A court in India has rejected a couple's request to abort their child of 25 weeks' gestation. Mumbai's high court declined Mr and Mrs Mehta's petition after a medical committee said the baby was unlikely to be disabled. Other doctors diagnosed blockage in the heart. The committee also cited risks to the mother of an abortion at 25 weeks. Indian law reportedly does not allow abortion on any grounds after 20 weeks. The couple said they only found out about the heart problem at 24 weeks. [BBC, 4 August] The Indian government says it will have a national debate on abortion and euthanasia in the light of the Mehta family case. [Hindu, 5 August]

Abortion supporters are pressing Senator Barack Obama to choose Senator Hillary Clinton, a fellow-Democrat, as his running mate when he becomes his party's nominee for US president. Ms Geraldine Ferraro, unsuccessful Democrat vice-presidential candidate in 1984, is among those suggesting Mrs Clinton. [LifeNews, 4 August] Emily's list endorsed Mrs Clinton before she conceded that Mr Obama would win the nomination.

A couple have fled China after they conceived their first child without state permission. Mr Bob Fu said Mrs Heidi Fu would have been forced to have an abortion if they had not gone to Texas via Hong Kong. One needs an official card to get legally pregnant in China and there are stipulations about marital status and age. [LifeNews, 4 August]

A woman in Britain has acted as a surrogate mother five times, as well as giving birth to three children conceived normally. Mrs Carol O'Reilly, 36, has decided to stop acting as a surrogate. The last such birth was an emergency caesarean. In each case, the children were from her eggs and with donor sperm. Mrs O'Reilly felt depressed after handing over her first surrogate baby and has since founded a support group. [Daily Record, 4 August] Since Mrs O'Reilly's eggs were used, the children are biologically her children.

Women who eat too little in pregnancy could harm their unborn children, says a senior obstetrician in England. Dr Pat O'Brien who practises at two London hospitals says: "... pregnancy is no time to be starving yourself. During the nine months it is in the womb the baby is growing faster than it ever will in later life." Our source suggests women need more iron in pregnancy. A Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists spokeswoman says underweight or normal weight women should gain 24 lb (10kg) in pregnancy and that expectant overweight women should not try to lose weight. The article also discourages excessive exercise in pregnancy. The National Childbirth Trust warns that extreme prenatal dieting and exercise could jeopardise lactation. [Daily Mail, 5 August]

Irish women are delaying having families, with 31 the average age for childbirth. The birth rate among those in their late 30s is higher than the rate of those in their late 20s, a reversal of the situation six years ago. More than a third of over-45s giving birth were having their first child. The Economic and Social Research Institute surveyed some 62,000 babies born in Ireland in 2005. Women reportedly pursue careers and financial stability. [Times, 3 August]

A support group has been founded in north-west England for families of children with cleft lip and palate. Mrs Tina Smith of Preston started the group after her grandson had the condition, which was detected through a prenatal scan. [Burnley Express, 5 August] Other children have, unlike Mrs Smith's grandson, been aborted for such conditions. Abortion for disability can happen up to birth in Britain.

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