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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Obama challenged over conception remarks

2 July 2008

A pro-life group is challenging Senator Barack Obama over his telling a church congregation: "We need fathers to recognize that responsibility doesn't just end at conception." The lobbying wing of the Family Research Council (FRC) is placing a television advertisement showing Mr Obama's remark, and then asks when he thinks [human] life begins. The head of FRC, holding his own baby, also asks: "If I became a father at conception, when did Samuel here become my son?" The US senator, likely Democrat presidential candidate, has a pro-abortion voting-record. [Catholic News Agency, 1 July]

The increase in caesarean sections in Scotland may have been partly caused by women delaying pregnancy. The Guardian reports that statisticians at Cambridge University found that, between 1980 and 2005, first pregnancies among 35-to-39-year-olds grew seven-fold and, for over-40s, 10-fold. Researchers, working on half a million cases, say the postponement of conception led to 6,200 additional caesareans over the period. The rate of such interventions is above the World Health Organisation's acceptable level. [Guardian, 2 July]
The likelihood of pregnancy from IVF can be fairly reliably predicted by considering four factors, researchers claim. Stanford University researchers found that outcomes were predicted seventy percent of the time by the number of embryos, the number of eight-celled embryos, the proportion of embryos which stop dividing, and the woman's follicle-stimulating hormone level. The study examined more than 660 treatment-cycles. [Reuters, 2 July]

Workers at a Catholic care home in Virginia allegedly helped a 16-year-old Guatemalan get an abortion. Commonwealth Catholic Charities staff signed a consent form and helped the un-named illegal immigrant travel to and from the clinic. Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond tried to forbid the procedure but the charity's management thought it could not stop it. Workers have been dismissed and the bishop has issued a profound apology. [Associated Press, 2 July]

A German former politician and advocate of assisted dying appears somehow to have been involved in a woman's suicide. The account of Mr Roger Kusch's part in the death of "Bettina S" of Wurzburg includes his arrival at her home, her preparing poison and his leaving the room. His actions were supposed to show how one could assist suicide but escape penalty. [Irish Independent, 2 July citing a Times report]

An unborn child was cut from the womb after his mother was fatally stabbed. Ms Phiengchai Sisouvanh Synhavong is accused in Washington state of killing Araceli Camacho Gomez and pretending the child, who survives in a critical condition, was her own. The trial continues. [Telegraph, 2 July]

The president of the French Catholic bishops' council for family and social matters has criticised surrogacy. While sympathetic to childless couples, Archbishop Jean-Charles Descubes of Rouen warns that surrogacy could mix "three kinds of maternity" - those of the donor, the surrogate and the woman who reared the child. After implantation, women developed a bond with the child they were carrying. Women were not mere incubators. Adoption was different because it dealt with a pre-existing situation. The archbishop asks: "By renting somebody else's womb are we not making the birth of a child the instrument for resolving the problem of sterility in an illusory way?" [Catholic News Agency, 1 July]

A Catholic prelate has criticised the awarding of a national honour to an abortionist. Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto says the Order of Canada has been debased by being given to Dr Henry Morgentaler whom he describes as "a medical man who has brought not healing, but the destruction of the defenseless and immeasurable grief." He urges Catholics in his diocese to lobby for Dr Morgentaler's award to be revoked, and tells those contemplating abortion to get help from organizations which will support them and their children. [LifeSiteNews, 1 July]

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