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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Couple demand IVF son after allegedly abandoning twins

29 May 2008

A couple who had twin girls through IVF reportedly want another cycle of treatment to get a son. The 59-year-old mother was refused IVF in Britain because of her age but obtained it in her native India. It was initially reported that the couple had left the twins at the English midlands hospital where they were born. [Ananova, 29 May] In a later development, the hospital has denied that the parents have abandoned the twins. [Telegraph, 29 May] SPUC's Anthony Ozimic commented: "If the initial report that the twins were abandoned is in fact true, it is yet more evidence that IVF results in children being treated as property, as disposable commodities and lifestyle accessories. Producing children in the laboratory undermines the unconditional love and protection all children, both born and unborn, deserve. Selecting the sex of one's children is an unworthy motive for human parenting."

The Irish Family Planning Association has disputed the Royal College of Psychiatrists' assertion that abortion can cause trauma in women. Mr Niall Behan, chief executive, was concerned that it played into pro-life campaigners' hands. Professor Mary Boyle, emeritus professor of psychology at East London University, England, is quoted as also objecting to the college's findings, though she apparently concedes that a few women do suffer mentally. [Sunday Business Post, 25 May] SPUC's John Smeaton said: "As far as we know, no-one is saying that all women who have abortions are traumatised. To admit that some women are badly affected is to acknowledge that there can be problems. Abortion supporters' enthusiasm for promoting the practice can lead to their being in denial about the dangers. This is a disservice to women."

The Archbishop of Glasgow has defended the Catholic church from a newspaper's accusation that it has stifled debate on abortion in Scotland, where terminations have reached an all-time high. Most Rev Mario Conti points out that the church has often warned that the country's sexual health strategy would fail if it just taught safe sex and not responsibility. He writes: "I suppose for repeating this I will be called a 'conservative cleric', but I cannot see why that should make me in any way responsible for closing down the debate." The church had worked with SPUC to encourage political debate, as well as supporting agencies which helped those affected by unwanted pregnancy. The church had also produced material about relationships for use in all types of school. [Herald, 29 May]

Nearly 100 British people have used a Swiss suicide facility since it opened. Eight Britons have killed themselves so far this year with the help of Dignitas in Zurich; 17 did so last year. Dignity in Dying said UK law on euthanasia was not working. [PA on Guardian, 29 May]

The number of premature births in America is rising, with more than 90% of them by caesarean section, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the March of Dimes. The latter organisation suggested that some caesareans were un-necessary. It is suggested that the procedures are being used because doctors fear lawsuits and because women find them convenient. [Reuters, 29 May]

Fish is good for the brains of unborn children but mercury in it is a danger to them, say Harvard, Massachusetts, scientists. An article in the American Journal of Epidemiology reports better cognitive scores among children whose mothers ate seafood in pregnancy but suggests women try to eat fish that is free from mercury. [Reuters, 27 May] America's Food and Drug Administration proposes to require labels on medicines to carry more information on any risks to the children of pregnant or nursing mothers. [Reuters, 28 May]

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