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Defending life from the moment of conception

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US Democrats approve pro-abortion policy

26 August 2008

The Democrat party's convention yesterday approved a pro-abortion policy with little apparent dissent. Language calling for abortion to be made rare had been removed. National Right to Life pointed out that more than two fifths of party supporters opposed many if not all abortions. [LifeNews, 25 August] The Catholic church has corrected the party's leader in the House of Representatives over her description of doctrine on abortion. Ms Nancy Pelosi said on television that there had been controversy in the church about when human life began. Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington said: "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable." [Associated Press on Google, 26 August]The Catholic Archbishop of Denver, Colorado, has told the Democrat candidate for US vice-president to avoid taking holy communion because of his support for abortion. Cardinal Charles Chaput said he hoped to meet privately with Senator Joe Biden to persuade him either to change his views or refrain from the sacrament. [LifeNews, 25 August]

SPUC has published a commentary on a paper which argued that it was ethical to remove vital organs from certain patients even if those patients were alive, thereby causing death. The Southern Cross Bioethics Institute prepared the critique on the article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Of the paper, SPUC says: "This new, further slide down the slippery slope of anti-life thinking is truly disturbing." [John Smeaton, 26 August]

An Irish cardinal has criticised the European Union over its policy on the sanctity of human life. A webpage which is critical of Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, quotes him as saying: "Successive decisions which have undermined ... the right to life from the moment of conception to natural death ... have made it more difficult for committed Christians to maintain their instinctive commitment to the European project." [Irish Times, 26 August] Patrick Buckley of European Life Network, Dublin, blogs today on the cardinal's statement, describing it as an important intervention. [ELN blog, 26 August]

France's highest appeal court has allowed the official registration of miscarried babies before as well as after 22 weeks' gestation in response to a petition from three mothers of stillborn children. SPUC commented: "[The ruling] will provide comfort to parents who have gone through the tragedy of miscarriage or stillbirth, but it needs to be taken to the next logical stage. Giving a name to child who hasn't survived recognises their humanity, but that's not enough if their right to exist can still be taken away [by] abortion." [Daily Mail, 22 August]
Prenatal screening for infections at 15 weeks' gestation could prevent premature births. Commenting on American research, Dr Ronnie Lamont of Imperial College London, England, said that infections caused two fifths of premature births. The study found unexpected infections of amniotic fluid. [Daily Mail, 26 August]

Elderly people go hungry in British state hospitals, according to an Age Concern survey which found that more than half such patients risked malnutrition. Many health trusts had failed to introduce procedures for ensuring that staff fed patients who needed help at mealtimes. [Telegraph, 24 August]

Caesarean section could increase the risk of insulin-dependent diabetes in children, according to a UK analysis of published research. Dr Chris Cardwell of Queen's University Belfast, team leader, speculated that the problem could be caused by initial exposure to hospital bacteria rather than to maternal bacteria. [PA on Channel 4, 26 August]

A woman has given birth after 18 miscarriages. Ms Angela Haston, aged 27 of West Lothian, Scotland, has had a daughter after she was treated for vitamin B12 deficiency. [Scotsman, 26 August]

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