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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Staff shortages putting premature babies at risk

17 June 2008

British MPs are warning that staff shortages at neonatal units are putting premature babies at risk. The House of Commons public accounts committee says nearly 2,300 extra nurses are needed. The British Association of Perinatal Medicine has recommended that there should be one nurse per premature baby, yet less than a quarter of regions have enough staff to do that, and half the regions lack around-the-clock transport for premature babies. One baby in 10 in England is premature. [Guardian, 17 June]

A technique which uses rapid freezing of human eggs does not increase the likelihood of developmental problems in babies conceived with them, according to a Canadian study on 200 children. McGill University researchers looked at the results of vitrification, where water in eggs is replaced with a substance with a lower freezing point. Dr Ri-Cheng Chan, project leader, said he would advise his daughters to use the technique in their 20s or 30s if they wanted to postpone pregnancy. [Telegraph, 17 June]

A New Zealand politician is concerned that his country has one of the highest abortion rates in the developed world. Mr Gordon Copeland, an independent MP, points out that there were nearly 290 abortions per 1,000 live births last year whereas the rate in the USA is less than 250. Live births rose last year but there were still nearly 18,400 abortions. The country's abortion rate is also worse than Britain's. [Scoop, 17 June]

An expectant mother in Poland who was diagnosed with terminal leukaemia postponed a bone marrow transplant for her unborn baby's sake. The late Ms Agata Mróz, a sportswoman, gave birth to a daughter in April and died two weeks ago. She was praised by the church and has been given a posthumous award by the country's president. [Catholic World News and LifeSiteNews, 13 June]

The Irish people could be asked to vote again on the European Union's Lisbon treaty. The foreign minister would not rule out another plebiscite, and other EU nations are keen to ratify the current document unamended. [Irish Examiner, 17 June] During the campaign for the recent referendum (which rejected the treaty), there was a lack of consensus on whether Ireland's abortion law would be subject to interpretation by European judges.

The one-child policy is hurting China's economy says the Population Research Institute, Virginia. Mr Steven Mosher, president, is quoted as saying that each Chinese person adds several thousands of dollars to the country's economic product in their lifetime. The millions of missing people deprived China of that income. The American Enterprise Institute has warned that the Asian nation's adult labour force will shrink between 2015 and 2025. [LifeNews, 16 June]

A relapse of inflammatory bowel-disease in women makes it more likely that children they have will be born prematurely with a low birth weight, according to research in New York City. [Reuters, 16 June] Pregnant mothers who smoke marijuana can damage their unborn children's brains. Aberdeen, Scotland, scientists also found that some prescribed drugs, including those for obesity, might also do damage. [BBC, 16 June]

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