News, 15 January 2009

A counsellor who advises women after abortion says many of them suffer from anxiety, depression and/or substance abuse. Dr Linda Mintle of Virginia observes that women can feel out of control and will need to grieve the loss of a life. Although the American Psychological Association and other groups denied post-abortion problems, Dr Mintle's experience showed that they existed. Researchers and therapists were under pressure not to mention such suffering yet women needed to be warned of mental health dangers of abortion. New research confirms that abortion hurts women. [LifeNews, 14 January]

Dr Peter Singer, the Australian philosopher, has written an article in support of IVF. He celebrates how it has enabled couples to have children and suggests that the church is wrong to criticise it because of the number of embryos wasted. [Guardian, 14 January] Anthony Ozimic of SPUC said: "The driving force behind the IVF industry is not primarily to enable infertile couples to conceive, but rather artificially to reproduce large numbers of embryos for embryo experimentation. Singer repeats the anti-life fallacy that most naturally-conceived embryos are miscarried and therefore one cannot object to the destruction of unborn children through abortion or in laboratory techniques. The intention, however, of an act of sexual intercourse by a couple with proper motivations is procreation, in order to bring a child to birth. In contrast, the intention of IVF is to manufacture individuals, in order to dominate them, often with the intention of destroying many of them."

Pregnant women in parts of Scotland are not being offered a state-funded scan at 20 weeks, contrary to a health service recommendation made five years ago. Expectant mothers in the Greater Glasgow, Clyde (Lanarkshire) and Highland areas are sometimes only scanned at 12 weeks. The later scans can find problems with the bowel, brain, cleft lip, heart, kidneys and limbs. [Scotsman, 15 January] Alison Davis of No Less Human said: "While these scans can occasionally enable early treatment, or help choose the best place for the baby to be born, they usually offer only the promise of detecting disabling conditions so that the baby can be aborted. Ensuring a 20-week scan is no advance but yet another means of ensuring the death of disabled babies. It is an appalling attack on the right to life of disabled babies, and the right of mothers to bring their babies to term safely."

British MPs are to ask funding bodies why they refused grants to laboratories which want to create animal-human hybrids. The committee on innovation, universities and skills is writing to the Medical Research Council (MRC) about why it did not pay for research at King's College London and Newcastle University. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has also reportedly declined bids for money. Dr Evan Harris MP, Liberal Democrat, has asked the two councils whether their decisions were influenced by ethics rather than science. [Independent, 14 January] Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, head of the MRC, said: "Studies using admixed embryos hold enormous promise but all applications received by the MRC are subject to competition and rigorous peer-review. This process prevents any moral objection dominating consideration." His organisation pushed for hybrids to be allowed by the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. [Medical Research Council, 13 January]

Human Rights Watch has expressed concern at restrictions on abortion in Mexico and Poland. Its World Report 2009 includes: "pregnant rape victims [in Mexico] who seek to terminate their imposed pregnancy are often thwarted from doing so by the dismissive and even hostile treatment they receive from authorities". [Human Rights Watch, 2008] Of Poland it says: "there is a high incidence of illegal and generally unsafe abortions, jeopardizing women's health and lives". [Human Rights Watch, 2008] John Smeaton of SPUC said: "Cherie Blair (Mrs Cherie Booth QC) endorses the pro-abortion Human Rights Watch on her website. Its pro-abortion propaganda promoting legal access to abortion in Mexico and Poland is a reminder of the deplorable decision on the part of the Pontifical University of St Thomas in Rome, otherwise known as the Angelicum, to invite Cherie Blair to speak at a conference on women and rights."

A Mexican political party has threatened to take the Catholic church to the electoral authorities because of the latter's stance on life issues. The Social Democratic Party has asked Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico City, to stop opposing its attempts to liberalise the law on abortion and euthanasia. The constitution forbids the clergy from taking part in politics. [LifeSiteNews, 14 January]

The Catholic church in Poland is offering a facility by which unwanted babies can be offered for adoption anonymously. A hatch in the wall of a convent in Silesia has been equipped to receive infants and to alert the nuns of the child's presence. Inaugurating the Blessed Edmund Bojanowski Window of Life, Most Rev Stanisław Nowak, Archbishop of Częstochowa, pointed out that some 20 million lives had been lost through abortion in that country. There are similar facilities in Krak√≥w and Warsaw. [LifeSiteNews, 14 January]

Presuming patients' consent to organ donation would make more transplants possible, according to a review of research in various countries by York University, England, published in the British Medical Journal. One study found donation rates were up to 30% higher. [Telegraph, 14 January]

Maternal drinking in pregnancy could mean that children are drawn to alcohol as teenagers, according to research on rats at New York State University. [Daily Mail, 15 January]


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