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Defending life from the moment of conception

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British couple expecting quadruplets reject 'selective abortion'

4 June 2008

A British couple who are expecting naturally-conceived quads have refused so-called selective abortion. Mr Michael Wing, the father, is quoted as saying that such intervention could lead to the deaths of all the children. Mrs Emma Wing, of Devon, says she wants nature take its course. [BBC, 3 June] Selective abortion is intended to increase the survival chances of the babies who are not killed.

Old people are reportedly going to Mexico to buy pentobarbital to use for suicide. It is said that suicide-supporters publicise the whereabouts of veterinary pharmacies and pet-shops which sell Nembutal for putting down domestic animals. [Reuters, 4 June]

A member of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation has reportedly compared pro-life advocates to Saudi extremists. Mr Blair subsequently played down the remark by Dr Richard Levin, president of Yale University, Connecticut. [Washington Post, 4 June] SPUC's John Smeaton has written about this incident and about Mr Blair's support for abortion. [SPUC director's blog, 4 June]

The Daily Mail carries a story about how pre-implantation diagnosis was used to ensure that a British couple's son did not inherit his father's genetic disorder. The article says that the technique "eliminated" genes carrying Mr Peter Wills's type one neurofibromatosis. Comment on Reproductive Ethics asked: "Is this a situation that warrants such serious intervention? People don't want to risk anything at all." [Daily Mail, 3 June] Genes with the disorder will have been eliminated by discarding embryos carrying it.

A paediatric surgeon has refuted a philosopher's assertion that the bible does not mention embryos' moral status. Mr Alasdair Fyfe of Glasgow, Scotland, takes issue with Professor Hugh McLachlan of the city's Caledonian University by quoting the first chapter of Genesis: "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness." He also mentions Psalm 139: "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb." Mr Fyfe writes: "... the distinct and clear biblical message is that God values human life hugely, and that human life begins prenatally." [Herald, 4 June]

Caesarean section may not increase the risk of stillbirth as has been thought, according to Canadian research. The study of nearly 160,000 second births found that obesity may be a factor. [PA on Channel 4, 4 June]

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