Contraception given to 11-year-olds without parents knowing
23 December 2008
Birth control and pregnancy tests are being offered to 11-year-olds in schools in England without parental knowledge. Morning-after pills are being given to children in Wiltshire, which has a high rate of sexually transmitted infection. The Life organisation said it was irresponsible. Evidence suggested such moves did not cut pregnancy or abortion. [Western Daily Press, 22 December] The main British opposition party says in a report that children aged 11 and above should be taught about refusing consent to sex. The Conservatives' Ending Violence Against Women also says sex education should not be value-free [Sunday Telegraph, 21 December] John Smeaton of SPUC said: "We shall study the Conservatives' report. Current sex education policies have comprehensively failed and must be entirely rejected by policy-makers."
A member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has described how some prenatal testing is licit and even desirable. Dr Carlo Bellieni, director of the department of intensive neonatal therapy at Le Scotte University Polyclinic, Siena, Italy, told Zenit that prenatal testing can be genetic or non-genetic. The former is not presently performed with a view to curing the child. However, certain non-genetic testing can be used to benefit the unborn and mothers. Routine testing could encourage parents to want perfect children. Even if there was no intention to abort, some tests such as amniocentesis carried risks. Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Pennsylvania, has pointed out that prenatal testing for Krabbe's leukodystrophy means that parents can seek matched bone marrow to treat the child in good time. Spina bifida could also be treated in utero. [Zenit on EWTN, 22 December]
A jury in America has called for legal clarity on organ donation. They issued a statement just after acquitting a California surgeon of harming a patient to obtain his kidney and liver. They found that Dr Hootan Roozrokh did not harm Mr Ruben Navarro, 25, when using a technique involving removing him from life support before extracting organs. Mr Navarro survived for eight hours after being taken off a ventilator. [New York Times, 18 December]
Ms Caroline Kennedy, who could be nominated for the US Senate to replace Mrs Hillary Clinton, supports Roe v. Wade which legalised abortion in America. A spokesman replying to questions from the New York Times couched her approval of the 1973 supreme court ruling in terms of its alleged prohibition of third-trimester abortions "except when the life or health of the mother is at risk." Ms Kennedy's office also said she opposed any legal requirement that parents of girls seeking abortion should be told about it. [LifeSiteNews, 22 December]
There is poor maternal care in eastern Myanmar, according to a survey of 3,000 women by Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, and the Burma Medical Association. [Reuters, 23 December]