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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Pro-life obstetricians and gynaecologists under attack

21 February 2008

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (AAPLOG) has strengthened its stand on conscientious objection in response to what it calls a move to "cripple, and ultimately eliminate from practice, those doctors who hold a conscience conviction on the sanctity of human life." The move, by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ACOG) would require all doctors to refer women to abortion centres, including those not prepared to do abortions themselves. Dr Joe DeCook of AAPLOG said that the ACOG did not understand the strength and depth of pro-life doctors objection to killing the unborn. [LifeNews, 20 February] Comment: SPUC General Secretary Paul Tully welcomed Dr DeCook's comments: "Dr DeCook is absolutely right to stand up for those who refuse to refer women to others for abortion. This is a key point on which British doctors too, especially general practitioners, are under attack."

Luxembourg may become the third European country to legalise euthanasia, according to the LifeSiteNews. The Luxembourg parliament voted at first reading by 30 votes to 26 in support of a bill to legalise euthanasia sponsored by members of the Socialist and Green parties, and opposed by the Social Christian led government of Jean-Claude Junckers, and by the Catholic Church. In an interview with, the chairman of the international Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Alex Schadenberg encouraged people from across the world to contact the Luxembourg Prime Minister to express their support for his efforts to defeat the bill. [LifeSite, 20 February]

The Daily Mail reports on a study published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, in which human embryonic stem cells were converted into insulin-producing cells and injected into mice in which diabetes had been simulated. The injected cells were able to control blood-sugar levels. The researcher, Dr Emmanuel Baetge, said the research suggested that embryo stem cells could be used to help cure diabetes, but Dr Ian Frame of Diabetes UK was more cautious, saying that the result was not yet a cause to raise expectations of a cure. [Daily Mail, 21 February]

The British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has published a report claiming that allowing embryos to develop in the laboratory for 5 days before selecting the most promising one to implant, can thus reduce multiple pregnancies. The study found that the technique increased the number of (established) pregnancies from 27 to 32 per cent, while reducing the number of multiple pregnancies from 32 to 17 per cent. It is hoped that the technique might reduce the demand for transferring several embryos at one go. .[Telegraph, 21 February]

The high proportion of multiple births as a result of IVF procedures puts pressure on the provision of neo-natal care beds. Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Midland Fertility Services says that many couples are prepared to take the risks associated with multiple births because they think they will only be allowed one attempt at IVF. She argues that it would be more economical for the National Health Service to provide up to three cycles. [BBC, 21 February]

A new study being carried out in Bradford, UK, aims to discover to what extent air pollution and water contamination affect a baby's growth in the womb. The study is part of the Born in Bradford project that is tracking the lives of 10,000 babies born at Bradford Royal Infirmary. Bradford has above average rates for low birth weight, infant mortality, diabetes and disability. [Bradford Telegraph & Argus, 21 February]

The Massachusetts Board of Registration has revoked the licence to practice of an abortion doctor after a woman died. Laura Smith aged 22 from Honduras died in September after having an abortion done by Rapin Osathanaondh at the Women's Health Centre. [LifeNews, 20 February]

Reuters reports on a Danish study into why more women are having Caesarian Sections. The study in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology says women who are less educated, younger, less well-connected and unemployed have much greater fears than average, as do smokers and those in poor health. But the report does not indicate if these groups were the ones having more C-sections. Dra Maja Laursen of the University of Copenhagen led the research. [Reuters, 20 February]

An Anglican bishop has compared the British labour government to the "beast" of the Book of Revelation, due to its immoral policies, including support of the Human Fertilisation and Embryo bill. The Rt. Rev. Graham Dow, bishop of Carlisle, strongly criticised the government for "imposing its own moral agenda in a way that is contrary to longstanding Christian morality." [LifeSite, 15 February]

British scientists have developed a new treatment for broken bones using patients' stem cells. The method of taking stem cells from patients' bone marrow and turning them into bone or cartilage cells is expected to dramatically decrease the time it takes to recover after breaking a bone. The team of scientists at the University of Edinburgh also want to take stem cells from blood in order to avoid further surgery. Dr Brendon Noble, of the university's Medical Research Centre for Regenerative Medicine, said: "This is a novel approach." [Daily Mail, 18 February]

The Observer carries a report, apparently originating from a commercial IVF centre, about soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan having their sperm frozen so that their wives might bear their children if they are killed in action. Mr Tim Mott, a spokesman for the Bridge Centre fertility clinic in London is quoted saying "People are quite specifically looking at the death issue." The War Widows Association suggest that the opposite is the case - soldiers and their spouses don't anticipate they won't return from war. [Observer, 17 February]

Hundreds of pro-life supporters gathered in Madrid last week to demonstrate against a proposal to make rapid amendments to the abortion law. The protestors who gathered in the Sol square were reacting to the socialist government's newly-announced plans to pass legislation to tighten confidentiality for women who visit abortion clinics. The Spanish government has also promised to "improve" abortion laws if they are re-elected next month. [PA on Channel 4, 16 February]

In a general report on the abortion controversy in Spain, Daniel Woolls quotes Empar Pinedar, spokeswoman for the Association of Accredited Abortion Clinics. Pineda admitted that the mental-distress ground for abortion was "a bit of theater that we play out" because the Spanish law does not allow abortion on demand. [Associated Press via Rockford Register Star, 17 February]

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