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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Pro-abortion amendments tabled to embryology bill

8 July 2008

Amendments to the British government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill proposed by MPs from the major parties would make abortion easier. The measures would mean that the grounds for abortion would be further relaxed, neighbourhood nurses could prescribe abortion drugs for use away from medical premises, and a second doctors' signature would no longer be required. The amendments could also be used to impede at least some efforts to dissuade women from having a termination, and punish pharmacists for refusing to supply abortifacient birth control on conscientious grounds. [Telegraph, 8 July] The Family Planning Association supports the supply of abortion through family doctors' surgeries and contraceptive clinics, saying it will make the procedure less difficult to obtain. The association also wants British abortion law extended to Northern Ireland. [24dash, 7 July] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "Anyone who is concerned about the rising trend in abortion numbers should telephone their MP immediately and insist that Parliament rejects all of the pro-abortion amendments. An increased number of babies will die if even one of the pro-abortion amendments is passed."

SPUC's national director has called on Ms Ruth Kelly MP, transport secretary, to resign from the government and fight the embryo bill. He also mentions the less-than-helpful response from Ms Claire Curtis-Thomas MP to a constituent's request that, as vice-chairman of the parliamentary pro-life group, she should oppose any pro-abortion amendments to the bill. [John Smeaton's blog, 8 July]

The USA is continuing to refuse to fund the United Nations' population agency. A 1985 measure forbids support for forced abortion and the agency has not received $235 million from America over the past seven years. [CWN on EWTN, 6 July] China has more than 100 million only-children because of its one-child policy, which has prevented some 400 million births. [AP on San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 July]

Women with fertility problems can make matters worse if they drink more than three cups of coffee or tea a day, Dutch researchers told the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology meeting in Barcelona, Spain. Alcohol, being overweight and smoking were also negative factors. [Irish Times, 8 July] Surrogacy does not harm children emotionally, Cambridge University, England, scientists told the conference. [BBC, 5 July] Research by the same university suggests children conceived with donated sperm should be told about it when still young. Those informed after 18 can be angry or shocked. [BBC, 7 July] Also from the conference, French scientists have found that male fertility declines significantly after 40 and that the likelihood of miscarriage increases from age 35. The team claims that, while its survey's subjects were being treated for infertility, the findings affect all couples. [PA on Channel 4, 7 July]

Irish police are considering whether to seek and prosecute a woman who said on radio that she had killed her father by introducing a substance into his drip-feed 10 years ago. Someone calling herself Jane told a phone-in that her father had been in pain from terminal cancer. She suggested he wanted to die and that what she did was an act of love. Our source talks in terms of assisted suicide but the woman appears to have performed the act which killed her father. [Irish Independent, 8 July]

Twins were born earlier this year after in utero surgery at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. An otherwise fatal condition meant that one baby deprived the other of blood. Lasers were used to repair blood vessels. [Irish Independent, 7 July]

Dr Philip Nitschke has shown part of a film which features a lesson in suicide to a public meeting attended by some 50 people in New Zealand. The film is banned in Australia, where the euthanasia advocate comes from. [The Age, 7 July]

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