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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Abortion rate could rise to 250,000 per year

9 July 2008

A British pro-life group is warning that, if embryo legislation now in parliament is amended to allow abortion even more easily, yet more unborn children will die. Alive and Kicking say the annual England and Wales total could rise from the present 200,000 to a quarter of a million, and are calling for counselling and cooling-off periods. A study by the group found that European countries with even more liberal abortion regimes than Britain had a higher abortion rate. [Daily Mail, 8 July] A former Labour health secretary, Frank Dobson, MP, is quoted in the Independent arguing for pro-abortion amendments to facilitate abortions on poorly-informed women: "These amendments would make it easier for not very well informed women to have an abortion." (sic). Mr Dobson himself has tabled one of the amendments. The same report also suggests that the UK government, whose Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is to be debated in the House of Commons on Monday, does not want liberalising abortion amendments to be attached to the Bill. It is said that Ms Dawn Primarolo MP, the current health secretary, plans to tell MPs that the law is working well and doesn't need to be widened. [Independent, 9 July] Paul Tully, General Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, commented: "It is entirely justified to fear that abortion rates might rise. Amendments have been proposed that will lead to substantially increased pressure on women to opt for abortion. If passed, they will make abortion available more widely, with less consultation, and from more people. These amendments fit the agenda of those who want to see more, not fewer, abortions." Regarding Dawn Primarolo's reported view, Mr Tully added: "It is normal for pro-abortion governments to distance themselves from efforts to extend the abortion law. Then they vigorously implement the law, ensuring that abortion is available in every possible case, pressing for abortions to happen as quickly as possible, and criticising doctors who refuse to facilitate abortion. Ms Primarolo's reported reticence about the amendments smacks of hypocrisy."

Scientists and practitioners from around the world have been attending the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology's annual meeting in Barcelona, Spain, where proceedings conclude today. A Danish study of several thousand IVF children which was described to the meeting suggests that frozen embryos have a greater likelihood of higher birth weight, and a lesser likelihood of developmental anomalies and multiple pregnancies, than fresh embryos. [Telegraph, 8 July] Practitioners addressing the conference want to test an IVF technique which costs less than $200 on women in Africa. Baths might be employed instead of incubators, and cheap catheters, drugs and needles used. [AP on KTVP, 7 July] A new, quick test will improve IVF success rates, claim Yale University, Connecticut, scientists speaking in Barcelona. They shone infra-red light through the medium in which each of 1,000 embryos had been cultured, and found that certain factors indicated a greater likelihood of implantation. [Guardian, 9 July] SPUC's basic objection to IVF is that it amounts to the manufacture of human beings. The practice of IVF assumes that our offspring may be produced in the laboratory, and that the role of the natural mother, in safeguarding with her own body the welfare of the embryo from conception, may legitimately be transferred to other people. IVF thus makes embryos vulnerable, exposing them to the risks of being discarded, frozen or experimented upon. Many thousands of human embryos have perished in the development and practice of IVF.

A religious brother in the US has described his experience and insights gained from caring for a brain-damaged member of his community for over 12 years. Brother Paul O'Donnell rejected both medical and church authorities' advice that he should allow Brother Michael to be dehydrated and starved to death. John Smeaton is blogging on it. [SPUC director, 9 July]

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund has endorsed Senator Barack Obama for US president, praising his record on abortion. He told the organisation he would ensure women's access to abortion and thanked them for their support. Our source calls Planned Parenthood the country's largest abortion business. [LifeNews, 8 July]

The head of the German coalition government has reportedly expressed her opposition to assisted suicide, after a former provincial justice minister appears to have provided a woman with poison yet escaped prosecution by leaving her to take it alone. The Christian democrat party, which is led by Mrs Angela Merkel, federal chancellor, is expected to introduce a measure this week to outlaw assisted suicide. Ms Ulla Schmidt, health minister from the social democrat party, said: "The correct path is to offer assistance to those who are dying instead of helping those free from terminal illness to commit suicide." Mr Roger Kusch, formerly a Christian democrat, is supposed to have helped a non-dying, 79-year-old Würzburg woman kill herself. [LifeSiteNews, 8 July]

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