News, 28 February 2008

Contrary to government claims, teenage pregnancy statistics released today prove that the government's teenage pregnancy strategy has been a massive failure, says SPUC. Commenting on the figures, Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, pointed out that the decrease claimed by the government was based on the high point in 1998, one year before the strategy was launched. Mr Ozimic added that the strategy had failed at the expense of the lives of unborn children, of removing children from their parents' protection, and of exposing children to an adult culture of promiscuity. [SPUC, 28 February, and Government News Network, 28 February]

An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association has confirmed that adult stem cell research is leading the way in providing treatments for a variety of ailments, Lifenews reports. Dr Richard K Gurt, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a review of articles on both types of stem cell research, and found dozens of applications of adult stem cells, appearing to confirm the list Dr David Prentice of the Family Research Council had compiled. [LifeNews, 27 February]

The committee that decides US expenditure on AIDS relief has adopted two recommendations made by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the humanitarian agency of the Catholic Church in the US. The bill approved by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee removes the integration of AIDS relief with the provision of family planning and sexual health, while linking it to food and nutrition in order to improve treatment programmes. The CRS will consequently continue its worldwide relief work with funds from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Mr Bill O'Keefe, senior director of CRS, commended the committee for its decision. [Reuters Alertnet, 28 February]

The President of the Pontifical Academy for Life said dying people should be told the truth of their condition. Bishop Elio Sgreccia was addressing the Academy's conference Close By the Incurable Sick Person and the Dying in Rome on Monday and Tuesday. He said the incurably ill needed to be told the truth in charity, so that they were able to prepare for death, which was a solemn and sacred human act. [Zenit, 27 February]

The family of the late Mrs Terri Schiavo and a leading pro-life organisation have criticised Senator Barack Obama for saying that he regretted voting in favour of saving Mrs Schiavo's life. Mr Robert Schindler, her father, was saddened by the remarks, and suggested that, in changing his mind, Mr Obama was pandering to popular prejudices. Mr David O'Steen, director of the National Right to Life Committee, said that the senator's remarks showed a callous disregard for people with disabilities. [LifeNews, 27 February]

A US Senate committee has approved legislation designed to reduce the number of abortions of babies with Downs syndrome and other conditions. The bill requires that families who receive a diagnosis of any abnormality be given information about the condition and links to support services. The bill has been co-sponsored by Sen Sam Brownback, a pro-life Republican, and Sen Ted Kennedy, a pro-abortion Democrat. [LifeNews, 27 February]

Catholic News Agency has issued a report on concerns about proposals to amend the abortion law in the UK. [CNA on EWTN, 27 February] Note: SPUC has expressed concern to CNA about various inaccuracies and misleading statements in this report which comes from a normally reliable source.

Doctors carried out an emergency caesarean section to save the baby of a woman who was found unconscious and drowning in a bath. Lorraine Maddi, 31, who had a history of fainting attacks, died eight days later in the intensive care unit at Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop, UK. [Daily Mail, 27 February]

A Canadian man convicted of the "mercy killing" of his severely handicapped daughter has been granted parole by an appeal board on the grounds that he was unlikely to kill again. Mr Robert Latimer was convicted of murder in 1993, and given a life sentence, with no possibility of parole for 10 years. His application for parole was turned down last year. [Reuters, 27 February]

A group of mothers is suing the Sanofi drug company, because, they claim, they were not warned about the dangers of the drug they were prescribed during pregnancy to combat epileptic fits. More than 100 children in Britain have been born with disabilities after their mothers took the drug Epilim. [Sun, 28 February]


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