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Defending life from the moment of conception

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weekly update, 7 March

7 March 2008

The press are speculating that three British cabinet ministers could defy an instruction from their party to support their government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill. Ms Ruth Kelly and Messrs Des Browne and Paul Murphy, all Catholic MPs, are said to be contemplating a rebellion. The government calls the bill "vital". [Telegraph, 6 March] John Smeaton, SPUC national director, commented: "Of course it's right that politicians should demand the freedom to vote according to their consciences, without being penalized by their party, on a bill which, if passed, will cost the lives of countless human beings. However, we must not confuse the issues. Whatever their party leaders may threaten, politicians have a moral duty to vote against the bill. No punishment meted out by Gordon Brown on cabinet ministers or backbench politicians, however dreadful, absolves them of their moral responsibility to vote against such a bill."

A woman who was among the first in Britain to have a legal abortion 40 years ago regrets it to this day. Remorse struck Ms Jo Woodgate, 62, of Devon as she held her niece's newborn baby. She writes: "I was wrong in thinking abortion was the easy way out of what, at the time, felt like an intolerable situation. With hindsight and maturity, I now know that I could have coped and, with each year that has passed, I've only felt a growing sense of guilt and regret over my actions." [Daily Mail, 5 March]

A physician is alleging that evidence of a link between abortion and breast cancer is being ignored by national bodies and academics. In the spring edition of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Dr Angela Lanfranchi of New Jersey criticises the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She says the latter's website contains inaccurate information. Dr Lanfranchi, a breast cancer specialist, writes: "[P]regnancy levels of estrogen increase by 2,000% by the end of the first trimester. These same biological facts of breast maturation also account for the increased risk of breast cancer due to induced abortion. Either the scientists at the NCI are unaware of this, or they are avoiding the biological explanation of why an early first full-term pregnancy reduces breast cancer risk." [LifeNews, 3 March]

A woman with breast-cancer interrupted a course of an oestrogen receptor modulator drug for her unborn baby's sake. Ms Clare McVerry, 40, of the English west midlands, stopped taking tamoxifen and gave birth to a son whom she thought might have died in utero. [Birmingham Mail, 29 February]

A man has been jailed for three years after he put abortion-drugs in his wife's food. Mr Gil Magira of London gave two doses of drugs he had bought over the internet to Ms Anat Abraham last February. The attempt failed, and the baby survivied, but Magira was prosecuted for administering a poison with intent to cause miscarriage. The offence came to light after he confessed his action to a psychologist. Ms Abraham said: "He tried to terminate our baby, end his child's life before it had even begun and that's the cruellest thing imaginable." [Daily Mail, 29 February, and Mirror, 1 March]

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