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Defending life from the moment of conception

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MP Abbott: "Irish women are second-class citizens"

24 July 2008

A main supporter of a proposed measure which would liberalise abortion in Northern Ireland has said that women in the province are second-class citizens. Ms Diane Abbott MP points out that women from Northern Ireland travel to Britain for abortion because of restrictive laws. She claims others resort to illegal abortion. [Guardian, 23 July] She is a co-sponsor of an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Mr Jeffrey Donaldson, Democratic Unionist MP for Lagan Valley, Northern Ireland, said: "The reason why the law is different [here] is because that is what the people of Northern Ireland want. We will be vigorously opposing any move to override the wishes of the people of Northern Ireland." [Daily Mail, 23 July]

President Sarkozy of France, the European Union's current president, has reportedly softened his message on requiring Ireland to vote again on a measure which could affect Irish abortion law. In Dublin he said he did not want to push the people into anything over ratification of the Lisbon treaty. He said he would get a further reassurance on abortion. [Eircom, 22 July] Some say the treaty could put Ireland's restrictive law under European human rights judges. Last month's referendum rejected ratification. Patrick Buckley of European Life Network, Dublin, said: "President Sarkozy may be speaking more realistically now but he has not accepted that the Lisbon Treaty is dead. The decision by the large European powers including France to continue with the ratification process is disgraceful and illustrative of Europe's democratic deficit. Assurances on critical issues would be insufficient. What is needed is a new treaty that respects national sovereignty together with legally binding guarantees that the right to life of the unborn will be protected from conception (fertilisation) and that the traditional family based on marriage will not be undermined."

A doctor in Scotland has been found guilty of misconduct after he prescribed sleeping pills for a woman who had said she had considered suicide. Dr Iain Kerr of Glasgow provided 30 pills of sodium amytal in 1998. When the same woman overdosed non-fatally on temazepam in 2005, he failed to refer her to hospital and prescribed more of the same drug. She then used that type of pill to kill herself soon afterwards. The General Medical Council's lawyer said his actions were: "akin to handing her a noose with which to hang herself. That is not the role of a doctor." [Scotsman, 24 July]

A woman in a California hospital has reportedly been deprived of fluids and food for at least nine days. The husband of Mrs Janet Rivera was last month inexplicably replaced as her so-called conservator by a coroner. Mrs Rivera has been unconscious since a heart attack in 2006. A court was due to consider her case yesterday at the family's request. [LifeNews, 23 July]
An unborn child who grew outside the womb has been delivered in Brazil. Ms Maria Benedita's son did not implant in utero but was born, with medical intervention, at 32 weeks' gestation. [Catholic News Agency, 22 July]

Isoflavones in soya-based foods such as tofu and milk-substitutes could threaten male fertility, according to Harvard, Massachusetts, research described in Human Reproduction. [Yorkshire Post, 24 July]

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