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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Family doctors to be paid extra for promoting contraception to teenage girls

13 February 2009

Family doctors in Britain will be paid extra for getting teenage girls to use long-term hormonal birth control such as injections, implants and coils. The girls' parents will not routinely be told. From next year, the physicians will be rewarded for recommending the methods when they prescribe morning-after pills. The government says young people neglect to use other types of birth control. The General Medical Council allows doctors to provide such devices and substances to minors without parental knowledge. Family and Youth Concern said the move was: "tantamount to bribing doctors to facilitate underage sex." Our source mentions unpleasant side-effects of long-term birth control. [Mail, 13 February] SPUC's national director said: "This has a faint echo of the global financial crisis, in which the senior management of failed banks are still being paid bonuses despite their complicity in the crisis. The government's teenage pregnancy strategy and its accompanying provision of more contraception and so-called sexual health services is an abject, manifest failure." He urges supporters in England and Wales to organise public meetings on the matter. [John Smeaton, 13 February]

The Pope has said that human life is not a disposable product. Benedict XVI told a Vatican gathering of patients and their carers: "Faith helps us to uphold the belief that human life is beautiful and worthy to be lived to the full, even when undermined by sickness." Life was: "a precious casket to keep and safeguard with all possible care, from beginning to final and natural conclusion." [Vatican on EWTN, 11 February]

The doctor in California who helped Ms Nadya Suleman have octuplets has also given fertility treatment to a 49-year-old who is carrying quadruplets. Dr Michael Kamrava reportedly implanted seven embryos from donated eggs in the un-named woman who also has three grown-up children. He may have breached guidelines on how many embryos may be used in one treatment cycle, and is under investigation. Dr Kamrava and the hospitals involved will not comment. [Telegraph, 13 February] An obstetrician in Australia must pay the equivalent of more than £140,000 to a female homosexual couple who say their relationship was harmed because IVF led to twins. Mr Sydney Robert Armellin used two embryos but the un-named couple claim they only wanted one implanted. The ruling came from an appeal court. [Australian, 13 February]

A magazine is featuring the effect of abortion on women. Next month's edition of Glamour includes a description by Ms Lisa Gaylord of her guilt and drug addiction. Ms Gaylord of Connecticut had two abortions and now helps other abortion victims. She says she had to forgive herself; she is now married with two children. The Care Net organisation welcomed the magazine's coverage of abortion but urged it and other publications also to mention the post-abortion support that was available. [LifeSiteNews, 11 February]

Donated stem cells may have cured HIV and leukaemia in a man in Germany. The Charité Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, found a bone marrow donor who was HIV-resistant and whose tissue could also treat the leukaemia. The prognosis, described in the New England Journal of Medicine, is tentative. [Nature News, 11 February]

Parents in America are being forced to have their offspring vaccinated against measles and other diseases. Children can be excluded from school and parents threatened with fines and imprisonment. [Guardian, 10 February] Some vaccines have been produced using tissue from aborted children.

A boy of 12 and a 15-year-old girl in England conceived a child who was born this week. Alfie Patten, now 13, and Chantelle Steadman are parents to a daughter whom they decided not to abort. The child lives with her mother and her parents. [Telegraph, 13 February]

Few women pay attention to health advice before getting pregnant, a survey of 12,500 women in the UK suggests. Many respondents, aged 20 to 34, drank too much alcohol, smoked and/or failed to take folic acid, the University of Southampton found. Behaviour did improve once women became pregnant. [BBC, 13 February] A Mediterranean-style maternal diet could prevent spina bifida in the unborn. Dutch researchers suggest that fish, fruit, healthy oils, vegetables and whole grains help avoid the spinal cord defect. Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, said folic acid was also beneficial but it had to be part of a good diet. [Reuters, 12 February]

A woman in Spain has been caring for her comatose daughter for seven years, says the Pro-Life Institution of Valencia. The 22-year-old cannot feed herself, speak or move, after a road accident. Doctors said she would never recover. Her mother, who gives her liquid food, says: "Each morning I thank God for giving her to me one more day." She says the young woman has fewer health problems because she is at home. [Catholic News Agency, 12 February]

Mr Beppino Englaro, who spent 10 years seeking permission for his semi-conscious daughter to be starved to death, paid his respects to her remains when her funeral cortège stopped at his home in north-eastern Italy yesterday. Ms Eluana Englaro, 38, was later buried by the Catholic church against the wishes of her father who wanted a secular cremation. The national parliament is considering a law concerning the end of life. Mr Umberto Eco, the novelist, wrote in La Repubblica that, if he were in a condition like the late Ms Englaro's, he would want feeding stopped. He had not commented before because of: "fear of behaving like a stalking jackal around a suffering body." [AFP on Yahoo!, 12 February]

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