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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Nurse performed abortion on wrong woman

21 July 2008

A nurse administered an abortion drug to the wrong woman, a disciplinary hearing found last Friday. Ann Downer, a nurse at the Calthorpe abortion centre in Birmingham, England, failed to check the woman's identity before administering misoprostol, which induces a miscarriage. Mrs Downer received a caution but can still practice as a nurse. [Guardian, 19 July]

A teenager in the care of authorities in the Irish Republic has decided not to have an abortion. The 14 year old girl, whose identity has been concealed, changed her mind just as the authorities were about to request legal permission for her to be taken abroad for an abortion. Abortion is illegal in the Irish Republic under its constitution. [Irish Examiner, 21 July]

A lack of appropriate training is leaving pregnant women vulnerable, an expert has warned. Dr David Williams of University College Hospital, London, England, pointed to an absence of obstetric physicians, as well as obesity and smoking, as factors in a rise in maternal deaths in recent years. Deaths of pregnant women from obstetric causes have been falling since well before the Abortion Act was passed in 1967. [Guardian, 20 July]

A Northern Ireland politician has said that the government has a duty to uphold Christian teaching against abortion. Iris Robinson of the Democrat Unionist Party (DUP) made her comments in a debate with a local columnist about abortion law in Northern Ireland. [Belfast Telegraph, 18 July] 

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, has highlighted the issues of abortion and embryo experimentation in the run-up to this week's by-election in Glasgow East, Scotland. Cardinal O'Brien said: "We are facing a crisis in society and we must ask ourselves is human life important to us or is it not?...[The Human Fertilisation and Embryology] Bill is a monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life. ...MPs must search their hearts and their consciences in this extra time in which they have been given to decide whether or not the value of human life really matters or whether or not it is simply one more commodity to be cast aside in our throw-away society." [Scotsman, 19 July]

A Catholic priest in Norfolk has compared abortion with the mass killings of Jews by the Nazis. Father Mark Hackeson of Poringland, near Norwich, England said in a parish newsletter distributed to local homes: "Since the legalising of abortion in this country, over six million lives have been destroyed - on a par with the Jewish Holocaust. The social convenience of an adult will be often judged as of more value than the infant life that is destroyed." [Evening Echo, 20 July]

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