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Defending life from the moment of conception

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20 underage pregnancies every day in the UK

31 December 2008

At least 20 girls aged under 16 in Britain get pregnant every day and most abort the child. The government has spent millions of pounds on trying to cut teenage pregnancy yet its own figures show no decrease. Professor David Paton, an economist at Nottingham University Business School, noted that the abortion rate among under 16s had increased in recent years. Areas which the government had commended for providing birth control to children had some of the worst teenage pregnancy rates. Family Focus called for: "... realistic education and empower[ing] youngsters to know how dangerous and foolish underage sex is." [Telegraph, 31 December] The government said it would halve under-18 pregnancies between 1998 and 2010. In 2004 it missed its target for that year. A children's ministry spokesperson said: "[I]t is vital for young people to be armed with the information that will lead them to make good choices in resisting pressure to engage in sexual activity." [Daily Express, 31 December]

A 70-year-old in India who had a baby daughter last month now wants a son. Ms Rajo Devi of Haryana state paid £2,000 for IVF with donor eggs to produce her first child. Hormone treatment enabled her womb to carry the girl. The IVF practitioner said Ms Devi had no intention of dying. [Telegraph, 30 December]

The United Arab Emirates has passed a law on human reproduction which appears to allow for abortion for disability. Our source mentions a ban on cloning, but these sometimes permit experiments on cloned embryos who are destroyed. The measure seems to allow for artificial reproduction as long as both parents consent. [Khaleej Times, 31 December]

Fathers who get involved in their partners' pregnancy are more likely to stay with mother and child after the birth, according to a study of 5,000 American couples by the University of Maryland. Men who had helped mothers and/or been at the birth were more likely to be close to the infant when he or she was aged three. The research is reported in the Journal of Marriage and Family. [Reuters, 30 December]

Low or high birth weight can mean an increased likelihood of type two diabetes in later life. The Journal of the American Medical Association published a survey by Diabetes UK of 30 studies covering more than 152,000 people. A child born at just under 2.5kg (5½ lbs) reportedly has a 25% higher risk of the ailment compared with one weighing 3.5kg (71b 11oz), which is just above the UK average. Maternal age of over 40 is also a risk factor. Researchers suggest exercise and good diet in pregnancy can cut the risk of type two diabetes in offspring. [Diabetes UK, 30 December]

One of Britain's leading abortion doctors has been given an honour by Queen Elizabeth II. Professor Allan Templeton, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, has been made a commander of Order of the British Empire for services to medicine. [BBC, 31 December] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "Abortion is neither honourable nor is it medicine."

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