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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Government advisor says couples should not have more than 2 children

2 February 2009

An advisor to the British government on the environment says adverse climate change should be combated through population control, and that it is irresponsible for couples to have three or more children. Mr Jonathon Porritt, a father of two, said funds might even be moved from medicine to birth control and abortion. Environmental pressure groups were wrong not to address population. [Sunday Times, 1 February] A family doctor in south-west England would refuse to recommend fertility treatment to those wanting large families. Dr Pippa Hayes, who has children but has been sterilised, would refer such patients to colleagues. Dr Hayes and Mr Porritt are both in the Optimum Population Trust. Dr Josephine Treloar, a mother of seven, said there were economies of scale in large families. [Sunday Times, 1 February] Ms Melanie Phillips, a columnist, describes Mr Porritt as an enemy of the human race. His policies resembled those of China. She writes: "Doctors have a duty to support life." Severe cold in Britain contradicted the theory of global warming. Mail, 2 February]
An un-named 42-year-old widow in England has been allowed to take her late husband's preserved sperm to America for IVF. The man, who died during surgery in 2007, did not give written consent, which is required in the UK but not the US. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is to change consent forms to allow men to agree to posthumous sperm extraction. [Sunday Telegraph, 1 February]

The Pope has said that love can help confront suffering, to which euthanasia was a false solution. Benedict XVI spoke yesterday as authorities in Italy were in conflict over whether to stop feeding a semi-conscious woman. The courts have approved her killing by neglect but the health minister opposes this on principle. [AP on Yahoo!, 1 February]

A report by the United Nations' children's agency concentrates on maternal mortality rather than on children, and proposes more spending on so-called reproductive health services. The State of the World's Children 2009: Maternal and Newborn Health concedes that evidence about maternal death is inadequate. It also acknowledges that abortion is not a major cause of maternal deaths. [Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, 29 January] Reproductive health services can include abortion.

Marie Stopes Kenya plans to apply for American money now that the ban on such funding has been removed by President Obama, whose father was Kenyan. [AP on Yahoo!, 31 January] SPUC's leader is advising pro-life people to lobby the country's president and vice-president over US funding and over the Reproductive Health Bill. [John Smeaton, 1 February] Pollution in China is causing developmental problems in the unborn according to the country's National Population and Family Planning Commission. Screening (presumably prenatal) has been introduced in the most polluted areas. [BBC, 1 February]

A child who survived abortion was allegedly taken from the mother, put in a disposal bag and later found decomposing in a box. The Thomas More Society has filed a suit about the case in Miami. It is said that Shanice Denise Osbourne was born in 2006 after a clinic's receptionist gave her mother a labour-inducing drug. An inquest found she had drawn breath. The case continues. [LifeSiteNews, 30 January]

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the British Fertility Society are expected to warn on the dangers of freezing human eggs for lifestyle reasons. Academics speaking ahead of an announcement supported the technique for cancer patients but said it was not reliable enough for women to use to postpone having children; it was best to conceive conventionally before the age of 35. [Observer, 1 February]

The octuplets on whose birth in California we reported were created through IVF, as were their unmarried mother's other six children. [Telegraph, 31 January]
The General Medical Council has allowed a doctor in Scotland who gave sleeping tablets to a suicidal women to resume practising. Dr Iain Kerr will be forbidden to prescribe certain drugs. [Herald, 31 January]

Dundee University, Scotland, is hosting an exhibition of art about assisted suicide. Care Not Killing objected to the university's implied endorsement of Life Is Over! If You Want It. The university said any views expressed were not its own. [Scotland on Sunday, 1 February]

Zaragoza University, Spain, has cloned an extinct type of goat which grew in the womb but died soon after birth. The Pyrenean ibex was created from ear tissue which had been frozen. [Irish Independent, 2 February]

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