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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Council of Europe approves pro-abortion resolution

27 June 2008

The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly today approved a resolution which contains pro-abortion language. The resolution and its accompanying report on abandonment at birth promotes "legal and easier access to sexual rights and reproductive health services" such as "contraception and abortion". John Smeaton, SPUC national director, said: "What kind of world do politicians live in where they call for the abortion of children in order to avoid their abandonment at birth? Quite apart from the cruel fate of the children aborted, this policy will result in the abandonment of the mothers who are being aborted, and the continuation of the social problems which the report claims to address. The resolution's title describes abandonment as the first form of violence yet this is untrue. The first form of violence is abortion. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as every human being under the age of 18. It calls for protection before as well as after birth." [SPUC, 27 June]

Romania may amend its law to let an 11-year-old have an abortion there. The girl, an alleged rape-victim who is 20 weeks pregnant, could still travel to Britain for the procedure if the government lets her. The general time limit for abortion in Romania is 14 weeks, though there are exceptions. Some religious groups oppose the abortion but reports persist that the Orthodox church thinks the family should decide. [Times, 27 June, and Independent, 27 June] It is unclear from our source whether rape is an exception to Romanian law. It has not been proved in this case.

Schools in Wales are being urged to treat pregnant students better by not regarding them as health and safety risks. Ms Collette Ryan, who manages inclusiveness at a school in Conwy, claims pupils are pressured to leave when they are six months' pregnant and that pregnancy was treated as a discipline problem. Pregnant teachers could continue working almost until term. Estyn, the Welsh schools inspectorate, reportedly supports expectant pupils' staying on for as long as possible. [Times Educational Supplement, 27 June]

The UK opposition party claims the government has closed, or could close, 41 maternity-units. Conservatives claim smaller facilities are at particular risk and that parental choice is being limited. The government did not seem to deny the claims. [Journal, 27 June]

Prenatal depression could adversely affect postnatal child development. University of the West of England studied 12,000 women and found that persistent depression in pregnancy made developmental delays a third more likely. [PA on Channel 4, June]

Apes in Spain could be granted rights similar to human ones. The parliament's environment committee has approved measures to stop the animals from being used for experiments, filming, television advertising and circus performance. The law, which has government support, is expected to pass. Apes could still be kept in zoos. [Sky, 26 June]

A newspaper columnist says Catholics should not support Senator Barack Obama for US president. Mr Deal Hudson says the Democrat candidate's views on life-issues are antithetical to the church's social teaching. The last straw had been Mr Obama's pledge to Planned Parenthood that, in his first week in office, he would sign a law to legalise abortion and overturn states' limits on it. [LifeNews, 26 June]

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