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Defending life from the moment of conception

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UN meeting on millennium development goals calls for abortion over maternal health

29 September 2008

Participants in a United Nations meeting on one of the millennium development goals has called on governments to: "accelerate efforts for achieving reproductive, maternal and newborn health." Their statement pointed out that one woman died in pregnancy or childbirth every minute worldwide. [Medical News Today, 28 September] It is suggested that there is a global shortage of more than 330,000 midwives. The development goals on maternal and infant death are those on which the least progress is being made. [Guardian, 24 September, and eGov Monitor, 23 September] Patrick Buckley of European Life Network, Dublin, said: "First world countries have known how to reduce maternal mortality for over half a century. It is nothing short of disgraceful that pro-abortion countries push abortion on third world countries in the name of reducing maternal mortality." Mr Tony Blair was last week due to hold a meeting on the millennium goals. SPUC points out that, as British prime minister, he promoted abortion on demand in developing countries as central to achieving those targets. His failure to repudiate that position undermined the faith of the Catholic church which he recently joined. [John Smeaton, 23 September]

The Anglican Bishop of Chester has become a patron of the Evangelical division of SPUC. Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster has been Bishop of Chester since 1997. He was senior tutor at St John's College, Durham, when he was elected to the Church of England's General Synod. Mrs Jan Bell, chairman of the division, said: "We are very pleased that Bishop Forster agreed so readily to become one of our patrons. While SPUC is a human rights organisation, the involvement of religious bodies and individual believers is one of our most valuable sources of practical and prayerful support. While one may be pro-life on human rights grounds alone, faith in God brings special insight on the sanctity of human life." SPUC Evangelicals is a member organisation of the Evangelical Alliance. [SPUC, 29 September]

The Spanish government is out of step with its people over abortion law, according to the Right to Life organisation there. Ms Gador Joya said: "It does not appear capable of accepting that society does not want a new law on abortion." Most voters to the left of the political spectrum did not want the law changed. [Catholic News Agency, 28 September]

British head teachers (school principals) have expressed concern at how teachers have to act as social workers. Leaders of prominent private schools complain in a new book that the government has used schools for social programmes, such as reducing teenage pregnancy, to the detriment of learning. [Daily Telegraph, 29 September] The leader of the British parliamentary opposition has expressed concern at teenage pregnancy. Mr David Cameron MP told the BBC that it was one of the reasons why modern society was dysfunctional. [Independent, 29 September]

A Catholic senator who is described as a conservative is to be part of an Irish parliamentary committee on a European Union (EU) treaty which could affect his country's abortion law. Mr Ronan Mullen, an independent, said that an overly centralised EU could interfere with countries' social values. Most members of the committee did not oppose (and may have supported) the Lisbon treaty during a referendum in June. [Sunday Times, 28 September] There has been controversy over whether the treaty would submit the law to European courts.
Irish television is to show a programme about an assisted suicide which was filmed at the Dignitas facility in Zurich, Switzerland. The film is about an American with motor neurone disease living in Britain who took barbiturates. The Canadian-led production team found it stressful and one of them said Mr Craig Ewert should have been able to kill himself at home. RTÉ, the Irish broadcaster, said the programme was neutral on the ethics of assisted suicide. [Sunday Times, 28 September]

A non-profit organisation in an English city is to provide mothers with birth supporters at no charge. Two nurses have begun training courses for so-called doulas in Coventry. [Coventry Telegraph, 26 September]

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