News, 22 January 2009

More family doctors' surgeries in England will soon start to offer chemical abortion to women who are less than nine weeks' pregnant. GP magazine found that the scheme could start in six places within weeks. Abortion pills are presently provided almost exclusively at hospitals and so-called clinics. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service will run such a service in Basingstoke, Hampshire. It already has a facility in the West Midlands. Alive and Kicking and Ms Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP for mid-Bedfordshire, both said it would make it easier for women to have abortions. The government denied this and said early abortion was less risky (presumably for the mother). [Daily Mail, 21 January]

A priest in Scotland has pointed out that Mr Barack Obama omitted the right to life from his inaugural address. Rev George Donaldson of St Bartholomew's, Coatbridge, writes that the president mentioned: "the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness." He observes, however, that the declaration of independence includes: "... certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life ...". [Herald, 22 January] The Pope's congratulatory telegram to President Obama includes reference to: "respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice" and "co-operation and peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God wills to set for the whole human family." [Vatican Information Service on EWTN, 21 January] The US Catholic bishops have urged Mr Obama to continue President Bush's pro-life policies. [CNA on EWTN, 19 January]

An Italian regional governor has said that, if a semi-conscious 38-year-old woman is brought to her part of the country, she can be dehydrated to death in accordance with her father's wishes and an appeal court ruling. Ms Mercedes Bresso would permit the killing of Ms Eluana Englaro if she were moved to Piedmont. [LifeSiteNews, 21 January]

Doctors said an unborn boy with thanatophoric dwarfism would not live long outside the womb and should be aborted or left to die at birth, yet he is now aged three years and lives in Florida. Mrs Evelyn Mann, 43, says Samuel Mann is full of life and communicative, and can sometimes breathe without a ventilator. She and her husband say they received peace from God when the condition was diagnosed by x-ray at 20 weeks' gestation. [Catholic News Agency, 21 January]

The British government is offering £190 tax-free grants to pregnant women whose babies are due on or before 6 April. Mothers who are at least 25 weeks' pregnant must first see a midwife or doctor. The government says pregnancy is an expensive time. [Evening Post (Bristol), 21 January]

Those who say they love God but support abortion are liars, according to a Catholic bishop in Oregon. Rt Rev Robert Vasa, Bishop of Baker, writes that the bible teaches that people who do not love their fellow-humans cannot love God. The unborn child was our brother or sister and the Freedom of Choice Act embodied hatred for the unborn. [Catholic News Agency, 20 January]

A study of 4,700 mothers in Western Australia found that nearly half of them drank throughout pregnancy, some heavily. Alcohol can reportedly cause premature birth, as can smoking, which some women who drink are more likely to do too. Researchers at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research said it was best not to drink in pregnancy at all. [Xinhua on Mathaba, 21 January]

Ireland's Law Reform Commission has included living wills among the subjects of a consultation. [Irish Independent, 19 January] Patrick Buckley of European Life Network, Dublin, said: "A living will or advance directive may not necessarily be a request for euthanasia. However, these documents can be used to demand that doctors bring about a patient's death by, for example, specifying that nutrition, hydration or medical treatment should be withheld. Living wills may be helpful to doctors in forming an impression of a patient's preferences but, if they are binding, they could tie doctors' hands, preventing them from acting in a patient's best interests. A patient may not realise that withholding treatment will not necessarily lead to an earlier death with less suffering. Doctors might act on an advance directive in circumstances which the patient did not foresee, or misinterpret the patient's wishes. For these reasons, the pro-euthanasia lobby uses living wills as a tool to achieve its goals."

More than a quarter of British people have agreed to have their organs transplanted. Some 16 million are on the register, double the 2001 number and over the government's target. A £4.5m campaign in England will seek to get more donors. [BBC, 22 January]

Today is the 36th anniversary of the ruling in supreme court case 410 US 113, known as Roe v. Wade, which permitted abortion in America. Members of Sacred Heart of Mary church, Boulder, Colorado, will process through a cemetery where there are 6,000 aborted babies. In 1996, a crematorium secretly sent the children's remains to the parish for burial. [Catholic News Agency, 21 January] Demonstrations are expected in Washington, DC.


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