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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Teenage pregnancy rate increases AGAIN despite contraceptive push

16 December 2008

The pregnancy-rate among under-18s in England and Wales rose by at least 2.7% between 2006 and last year. Government figures suggest that, while 40.9 girls in every 1,000 got pregnant in 2006, 42 did so last year. Some 1,200 more girls became pregnant last year than the year before and Britain has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, according to the UN. A 1999 government strategy costing £150 million aimed to halve teenage pregnancy by 2010 and missed its 2004 target. Dr Patricia Morgan, a sociologist, said the strategy actually groomed young people for sex. The government insisted that it knew what was effective in cutting teenage pregnancy. The Centre for Policy Studies called for parental involvement, contraception and discouragement of teenage sex. Hormonal birth control pills are to be sold without prescription. [Telegraph, 16 December, and Daily Mail, 16 December] Many pregnant teenagers come under pressure to have abortions.

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Christmas message to Anglicans worldwide includes pro-life statements. Dr Rowan Williams writes about: "the reverence which as Christians we ought to show to human beings in every condition, at every stage of existence." He adds: "This is why we cannot regard unborn children as less than members of the human family, why those with disabilities or deprivations have no less claim upon us than anyone else, why we try to make loving sense of human life even when it is near its end and we can hardly see any signs left of freedom or thought." In a global financial crisis, the most vulnerable carried the major human cost. [Archbishop of Canterbury, 15 December]

Toxic waste from a former steelworks in England is said to have harmed 18 unborn children. Corby Borough Council is being sued for millions of pounds over its redevelopment of the plant, which is said to have caused developmental problems in the limbs of children born between 1985 and 1999. The case is to be heard in February. [BBC, 15 December]

A report on the treatment of IVF embryos in Ireland describes how they will have been discarded because of equipment failure, mislabelling of containers and contamination. Clinics last year reported 13 so-called adverse events to the Irish Medicines Board. Some women also died during treatment, apparently because of drugs used. [Irish Times, 16 December]

Scans failed to find an unborn baby's heart problem. Kieran Cannings suffered a fatal anomalous pulmonary venous connection aged one month. His father, of Birmingham, England, was operated on for a similar problem as a baby. The hospital concerned suggested scan results were deficient. A coroner's hearing continues. [Birmingham Mail, 15 December]

An aborted child is due to be given a funeral in north-east England. Meryline Mudzingwa had Edwards syndrome and was reportedly aborted in August at seven months' gestation. Our source mentions how Ms Josephine Mudzingwa, her mother, attended a service for other deceased children but, because of a mistake, Meryline was not among them. The child's remains are still in a hospital mortuary. Ms Mudzingwa is very upset and the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, has apologised. [Breaking News, 15 December] Abortion for suspected disability is legal till birth in Britain.

Pro-abortion groups have compiled a list of things they want Senator Barack Obama to do when he becomes US president next month. Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration includes requests for billions of dollars in abortion funding at home and abroad, as well as treatment of abortion as healthcare right. Abstinence-based programmes would lose funding. Signatories to the document include Catholics for Choice, Jewish Women International, Planned Parenthood, IPPF and Naral Pro-Choice America. [Inside Catholic on LifeSiteNews, 15 December]

Pro-life people are mourning the recent death of Cardinal Avery Dulles SJ, aged 90. In 2004 the American Cardinal Dulles told Zenit: "As the deliberate taking of innocent human life, direct abortion can never be justified. About the moral principle, there can be no debate in the Church. The teaching has been constant and emphatic. ... The civil law should not authorize, let alone encourage, such moral evils. It should protect human life and dignity to the maximum degree possible." Pope Benedict has paid tribute to him. [LifeSiteNews, 15 December]

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