News, 6 August 2008

Keeping students in education or training for longer can cut teenage pregnancies, according to evidence from Norway and the USA. Research described in the Economic Journal suggests that raising the school-leaving age improves matters by practically reducing girls' opportunities to get pregnant and by enhancing their life prospects. There are plans to raise the leaving age to 18 in the UK, which has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in western Europe. [Guardian, 6 August] Many pregnant teenagers come under pressure at school to have abortions.

A British law which permits euthanasia has caused problems because of the complexity of forms and procedures. The 2005 Mental Capacity Act has reportedly made it more difficult and costly for family members to register their wish to manage incapacitated relatives' practical affairs. Mrs Elspeth Chowdharay-Best of the Alert organisation said: "[The government] was so determined to have a euthanasia law that it made it impossible for ordinary people to organise basic financial instruments. The need to prevent abuse has led to a law so bureaucratic that people cannot get at their granny's bank account to pay her care home bills." [Daily Mail, 6 August] In certain circumstances, the Mental Capacity Act requires doctors to kill their mentally incapacitated patients by dehydration and starvation.

The Japanese father of an IVF child is being prevented from taking his daughter home from a hospital in India, because he and his wife divorced while a surrogate mother was carrying the baby. Indian law prevents Mr Ikufumi Yamada from adopting the 11-day-old girl because he is now deemed single. Ms Yuki Yamada does not want her, and the baby is being looked after by her grandmother in a Rajasthan hospital. Couples pay £5,000 for surrogacy in India, of which the woman who carries the child gets around half. [Telegraph, 5 August]

A Catholic prelate has criticised the giving of a national award to a Canadian abortionist. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec, said the culture of death had been advanced by the granting of the Order of Canada to Dr Henry Morgentaler. The cardinal was addressing the Knights of Columbus' convention in his city. [CNA on EWTN, 5 August] The leader of the knights, a US-based men's organisation, called on Catholics not to vote for pro-abortion politicians. Mr Carl Anderson said his co-religionists should: "shine a bright line of separation between themselves and all those politicians who defend the abortion regime of Roe v. Wade." [Broadcast News, 5 August] Ms Nancy Pelosi, the Catholic speaker of the US House of Representatives, reportedly says she has never been denied holy communion because of her pro-abortion views. The archbishop of Kansas City has banned the pro-abortion state governor from communion. [LifeNews, 5 August]

An antibiotic to treat chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, is to be made available from pharmacies in Britain without prescription. People aged over 15 will be able take a £25 test for the disease, submit it by post and, if they have the illness, buy azithromycin for £20 without seeing a doctor. Dr Trevor Stammers of the Family Education Trust said the move was folly and short-sighted. People with chlamydia needed to be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases; there was a risk of antibiotic resistance. [Daily Mail, 6 August] A pill, still under development, taken before intercourse could stop the spread of HIV, according to a report in The Lancet medical journal. [Independent, 6 August]

A couple in India could appeal against a court ruling that would stop them aborting their child of 26-weeks' gestation who may have a heart problem. There have been many offers to adopt Mr and Mrs Mehta's baby if he or she is allowed to be born. [Gulf Daily News, 6 August]

SPUC has begun awarding virtual prizes to abortion providers which make misleading or euphemistic statements about what they do. John Smeaton, national director, quotes George Orwell as writing: "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." The first winner is BPAS's text addressed to women who have a late abortion: "All tissue from abortion procedures is disposed of in a sensitive way. However, if you have specific wishes about the disposal of your fetal tissue, please discuss this with a member of staff before the procedure." [SPUC director, 6 August]

Endometriosis, a disease of the womb, could be caused by the inappropriate release of the telomerase enzyme late in the menstrual cycle. The finding by Liverpool university, England, could help develop treatments for the ailment which afflicts some two million women in the UK. [Herald, 6 August]

Dogs have been cloned. A Californian woman paid a South Korean company £25,000 to reproduce her deceased pit bull terrier. RNL Bio Company Limited of Seoul plans next to clone camels for wealthy people in the middle east. [Telegraph, 6 August] Advances in animal cloning can increase pressure to clone people.

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