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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Down's syndrome tests more dangerous than previously thought

15 September 2008

Prenatal tests for Down's syndrome are more dangerous than has been thought. Research by Down's Syndrome Education International suggests that 400 unborn children who did not have the condition miscarried during a process which diagnosed 660 Down's babies who were aborted. The study's report, published in Down's Syndrome Research and Practice, alleges false blood test results, and injuries from needles used to take samples of amniotic fluid and tissue. [Observer, 14 September]

The Republican vice-presidential nominee reportedly differs from the party's presidential candidate on embryo-research. Mrs Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, told an interviewer that she opposed US federal funding for such work, while Senator John McCain appears to support it. Mrs Palin said she supported abortion if the mother's life were in danger; states should make decisions on the matter; she respected others' views on the issue. [LifeNews, 14 September]

Smoking in pregnancy may not affect children's intelligence or behaviour, though it can mean low birth weight and childhood obesity. A study of some 53,000 offspring of smokers born in America in the 1960s failed to find some of the adverse consequences often associated with maternal smoking. Harvard School of Public Health, Massachusetts, was nevertheless keen to emphasise the damage caused to mothers and children by smoking. [Reuters, 12 September]

The New Zealand government is refusing to say who is on a taxpayer-funded committee supervising standards for the performance of legal abortion. New Zealand Right to Life called the justice ministry's secrecy a threat to civil liberties and called on the committee's unidentified members to end abortion on demand. [Catholic News Agency, 14 September]

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