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Defending life from the moment of conception

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European Parliament to vote on pro-abortion resolution this Wednesday

12 January 2009

A resolution which is likely to promote abortion will be voted on in the European Parliament on Wednesday (14 January). The proposal from a committee led by Mr Giusto Catania MEP, an Italian communist, urges European Union countries to guarantee access to "sexual and reproductive health and rights", which is often interpreted to include abortion on demand. It also calls for more contraception, more sex education and more confidential advisory services. SPUC is urging its supporters to email their MEPs to ask them to oppose report 2007/2145(INI) on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union 2004-2008. [SPUC, 12 January]

A baby girl has been born in Britain after she and other IVF embryos were screened for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes which can cause breast cancer. University College Hospital, London, claim this is the first successful use of that procedure in relation to breast cancer. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority allowed the use of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis find the dangerous genes among 11 three-day-old embryos. It is reasonable to assume that the six embryos who were found to have BRCA1 were discarded. [Times, 10 January] The baby's 28-year-old unidentified father said he and the child's mother had a duty to do what they did. [Herald, 12 January] Comment on Reproductive Ethics said: "[W]e will not cure diseases by eradicating the carriers of particular genes." The Life charity said: "[W]e are greatly concerned for the loss of those embryos discarded as not being considered worthy of life. Where is this going to stop? We ... are more than the sum of our genes." [Scotsman, 10 January]

The chief prosecutor in England and Wales has expressed his satisfaction with the law on assisted suicide. Mr Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions, last month decided not to prosecute Mr and Mrs Mark James who helped Mr Daniel James, their 23-year-old son, use the facilities of the Dignitas centre in Switzerland to kill himself. Mr Starmer said the case showed that the current law was "workable". Our source suggests his decision not to act will encourage people in Britain to continue to use Dignitas. [Telegraph, 10 January]

High testosterone levels in a mother's amniotic fluid could mean the unborn child is autistic, according to researchers at Cambridge University, England, who studied 235 children. The scientists say they want a debate on the matter. Fluid would be obtained by amniocentesis, also presently used to screen for Down's. [Telegraph, 12 January] A mother who has two autistic sons writes: "Our family life is as rich and as meaningful as any other; my sons' lives are not tragic, and nor is mine." Ms Charlotte Moore, who aborted a previous child who had no limbs, adds that autism can mean: "unique perceptions, special talents, weird humour, [and] a view of the world untainted by greed, envy, malice, vanity, ambition." She would not have a prenatal test for autism but nor would she condemn women who had abortions. [Guardian, 12 January]

Pollution in China is causing developmental anomalies in the unborn according to the National Population and Family Planning Commission. Such problems rose by 40% between 2001 and 2006. Nanjing University researchers said environmental problems caused one tenth of anomalies, after studying some 26,000 pregnant women in an industrial area. [Telegraph, 9 January]

The mother of unborn twins who share a body says that the children are gifts from God. Mrs Lisa Chamberlain, 25, of Hampshire, England, is rejecting medical advice to have an abortion. [PA on Channel 4, 12 January]

More Asian women are having abortions in Britain. Official numbers rose from some 10,000 in 2003 to more than 15,000 in 2007. There are calls for more contraception for members of that ethnic group. [BBC, 12 January]

A teenage mother allegedly killed her newborn baby, a court has been told. The girl, who has not entered a plea and is on bail, is said to have smothered the boy at home having concealed the pregnancy from family. The case continues after adjournment. [Evening Telegraph, 10 January]

A hospital in southern England has apologised after a 43-year-old man with Down's syndrome was starved to death. We already reported on how Mr Martin Ryan was not fitted with a feeding tube after a stroke made him unable to swallow. [Mail, 10 January]

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