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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Expert says abortion harms women

5 December 2008

An expert on the effects of abortion on women says a survey which claims that the procedure does no psychological harm is flawed. Dr Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University, Ohio, claims the Johns Hopkins University report excludes major studies of how abortion can cause drug and alcohol abuse. The methodology was defective and used arbitrary rankings which are unexplained. Dr Coleman disagreed with the project's estimation of the value of some research; the significance of a well-regarded New Zealand project was downplayed. Three recently-published surveys suggest that abortion can harm women's mental health. Dr Coleman cites 10 pieces of research which support post-abortion syndrome yet which Johns Hopkins discounted. [LifeNews, 4 December]

A charge of murder has been dropped in a case in the Netherlands of an unnamed woman who travelled to Spain for an abortion at 28 weeks' gestation. Prosecutors will not press charges against the Dutch woman because she reportedly had psychological problems and, they say, will probably not do the same thing again. A Dutch clinic told the woman about the Ginemedex clinic in Barcelona. Netherlands law allows abortion on certain grounds till 24 weeks and can punish its citizens for crimes done abroad. [AP on Google, 4 December]
Pregnant women in Zimbabwe are in danger because health services are seriously deficient, according to Save the Children. Caesarean sections and other emergency procedures were no longer available and many expectant mothers were malnourished. [Save the Children, 4 December] A Save the Children statement has said: "where abortion is not against the law ... health systems should ... take other measures to ensure that such abortion is safe and accessible". [SPUC Charities Bulletin, 2006]

New global guidelines for stem cell research have been published. Our source says the International Society for Stem Cell Research's rules are founded on ethical conduct. The policy reportedly seeks to clamp down on treatments whose use has not been proven. [Medical News Today, 4 December] The guidelines seek to address concerns about embryonic stem cell research which involves the destruction of human embryos. The ISSCR guidelines entirely fail to address this point. Evidence of effective stem cell treatments from adult-derived stem cells is widely acknowledged.

A 50-year-old single woman in England wants to find an egg-donor but she must have graduated from one of the country's top universities. Ms Sally Adams of London has spent more than £15,000 on unsuccessful IVF over 10 years and now seeks eggs from a woman aged under 32 with a degree from Cambridge or Oxford. [Belfast Telegraph, 5 December]
A Muslim pharmacist working in north-west England refused to supply morning-after pills and was verbally abused by the customer. Mr Mohammed Parvez declined to supply the drugs to Mr Chris Mellett who then used racist language, and was subsequently convicted of racially aggravated harassment. J Sainsbury plc, owners of the pharmacy, offered to keep another branch open late for Mr Mellett and his partner to go and get the pills. The convicted man, who denied the charge, has been fined. [Tameside Advertiser, 4 December]

Most couples in an American survey would prefer that their spare IVF embryos went for research or were discarded, rather than being implanted in the womb. Duke University, North Carolina, found that 16% of the 1,000 respondents would donate the embryos to others. 41% of couples would consider offering their embryos for research, while 12% preferred destroying them. Dr Anne Drapkin Lyerly said couples were loath to have their children brought up in other families. Many struggled with the decision about what to do with the unborn children. There are reportedly more than half a million frozen embryos in the US. [Guardian, 4 December]

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