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Defending life from the moment of conception

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MPs call for mandatory abortion counselling

18 July 2008

British MPs are supporting a resolution in favour of counselling for women considering abortion. Mrs Angela Watkinson's parliamentary motion points out that the British Medical Association's recent conference acknowledged the psychological harm abortion could do. It welcomes proposed amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which support counselling and telling women "about the health consequences of abortion, of alternatives to abortion, including adoption, and of help available should they decide to continue with their pregnancies." [UK parliament, 16 July] John Smeaton of SPUC said: "MPs could get embroiled in a trade-off, agreeing to sacrifice some babies in order to help others. We have therefore urged MPs with pro-life sympathies not to welcome or promote amendments on abortion. Parliament's pro-abortion majority may well use the Report stage as the opportunity for a new settlement on abortion which will lead to more, not fewer, deaths of unborn children."

The Pope has said to an audience in Australia: "How can it be that the most wondrous and sacred human space, the womb, has become a place of unutterable violence?" Benedict XVI was addressing a World Youth Day event in Sydney and had just mentioned domestic violence. [Sydney Morning Herald, 18 July] A Catholic bishop has suggested a link between Britain's high abortion rate and its severe social deprivation. Rt Rev Joseph Devine, Bishop of Motherwell, Scotland, writes: "[A] nation that condemns to abortion our beautiful and blameless unborn babies betrays itself as morally, ethically and politically untrustworthy[,] and disinclined to give due care and attention to the poorest and weakest members of our society." [Herald, 18 July] There is a by-election next week in a part of Glasgow which has poor areas. SPUC is asking supporters to ask Mr Tony Blair and the Progressio organisation how they square their positions with those of the Pope and Bishop Devine. [SPUC director, 18 July]

An Irish politician says some teenagers get pregnant to get free housing. Mr Darren Scully, a Fine Gael councillor in County Kildare, said he had direct and indirect evidence and had received messages of support. More than two-fifths of social housing applicants were single parents. Ms Mary Glennon, an independent councillor, disputed the claims, as did the Federation of Services for Unmarried Parents and their Children. [Irish Independent, 18 July]

A woman in Wales, who was dismissed from her job after getting pregnant and subsequently miscarried, has been awarded £19,000 compensation. Ms Sarah Tanner, 24, said the Next clothing retail company had changed its attitude to her when she said she was expecting. She told an employment court that the stress of losing her job caused the miscarriage 10 days later. Next said Ms Tanner had made mistakes in her work. [Daily Mail, 17 July]

Consuming fibre before and during early pregnancy could help prevent pre-eclampsia. Research on more than 1,500 expectant mothers in Washington state, described in the American Journal of Hypertension, suggests that such a diet avoids pregnancy-associated dyslipidemia. [Reuters, 17 July]

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