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Teenager killed by abortion drug

13 June 2008

A woman aged 18 died after taking a drug prescribed to procure an abortion. In 2005, an inquest has heard, Miss Manon Jones of Bristol, England, suffered bleeding, seizures and cardiac arrest some 13 days after taking the substance. All or part of the unborn child was retained by her body, causing shock, and her haemoglobin level seems to have been unusually low. She might have been saved had she received a prompt blood transfusion. The inquest continues. [Telegraph, 13 June] The description of the abortion procedure suggests that the drug RU486 may have been used.

Pro-abortion amendments have been tabled to the HFE bill by Dr Evan Harris and colleagues. The amendments would de-restrict abortions by removing the need for any medical indication prior to 24 weeks. Only one doctor's authorisation would be needed at any stage. Nurses and midwives would be authorised to provide abortions. [UK parliament, 12 June]

Informal results suggest that the Irish people have rejected the European Union's Lisbon treaty in a referendum. [BBC, 13 June] There has been a lack of clarity on whether the treaty would put Ireland's abortion law under the jurisdiction of European human rights judges.

A bioethicist at a Catholic college in England has pointed out that the church has always taught that the destruction of human embryos was a serious sin. Professor David Albert Jones of St Mary's University College, Middlesex, was responding to a series of letters to a Scottish newspaper. While Popes Gregory XIV and Sixtus V had differed on the penalties for abortion, both condemned it. The church had never condoned direct abortion. [Herald, 12 June]

A court in Colombia is refusing to recognise morning-after pills' abortifacient effect, though the manufacturers acknowledge it. Federal justice Rafael Ostau de La Font called the substances contraceptive when ruling against a challenge to a 10-year import licence. [Catholic News Agency, 11 June]

The financial press reports a claim by Geron Corporation of California that its embryonic stem cell based treatment GRNCM1, a heart failure therapy, may avoid the problems caused by the immune system which beset transplants. The claim is based on laboratory tests, not clinical trials. [Interactive Investor, 12 June]

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