Australian pro-lifers mourn ‘darkest’ political day

PERTH – The passage of liberal abortion bills in West Australia April 2 has led Right to Life Australia chair Margaret Tighe to observe future generations of Australians will look on the day with shame. “Never before has an Australian legislature shown such a callous disregard for the lives of the smallest and most vulnerable Australians,” she said.A legislative council in Perth passed a bill to decriminalize abortion while the legislative assembly voted to support an amendment introducing abortion on demand. However, neither bill was certain of receiving the level of support it needed in the other house to become law.

Unborn hear and remember earlier than thought, say researchers

LONDON – Researchers in Britain have discovered that unborn babies can hear and remember sounds in the womb 20 weeks after conception. The finding his triggered a war of words between pro-life and pro-abortion advocates, who are gearing up over moves in parliament to liberalize the abortion law.“If the mother is involved in a row, the fetus hears it at the same time as the mother,” said Stephen Evans, a behavioral psychologist at Steele University. “The baby could be frightened of its father’s voice, associating it with the unpleasant memory.”

Pro-life advocates pointed to the finding as evidence of the humanity of the fetus at an age when it can still be legally aborted in England. “We take this as support for what we’ve been saying. It’s another piece in the jigsaw,” said Paul Tully of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child.

German doctors call for ban on later abortions

BERLIN – Doctors are calling for a ban on abortions of unborn babies over 20 weeks’ gestation following the discovery of a baby of 25 weeks’ gestation left for 10 hours wrapped in a blanket with no medical assistance. The baby survived.The baby, weighing just 680 grams, was found suffering from Down’s Syndrome and required several operations. A German member of parliament has brought criminal charges against the doctor involved. Current German law permits abortions on “medical grounds” at any point during a pregnancy.

Illegal abortion clinics shut, doctors and nurses arrested

JAKARTA – Doctors and nurses have been arrested and at least two illegal abortion clinics closed in the capital of mainly Muslim Indonesia. Children discovered the remains of 11 fetuses between three and eight months’ gestation in a garbage bin. One local resident was quoted as saying: “All kinds of women came here. Some were obviously very pregnant. Abortion is brutal and ugly. We are glad (the clinic) is closed.” Jakarta’s police chief says an investigation is continuing.

Minister steps in, girl has abortion

BUDAPEST – A 13-year-old Hungarian girl was reported to have undergone an abortion after the country’s welfare minister, Mihaly Kokeny, superceded a provincial court ruling that the girl could not go ahead with the procedure.“The fetus’s right to life is stronger than the future mother’s right to self-determination,” the provincial court judge had ruled. However, Kokeny said the court never actually banned the abortion, and claimed that the country’s guardianship office overstepped its bounds in allowing a pro-life group to try to name a guardian to represent the unborn child in court.

A local priest had offered to care for the child after it was born. Hungary’s laws allow a minor to undergo an abortion with parental approval.

Euthanasia a hot topic in Dutch election

AMSTERDAM – Controversial proposals to formally legalize euthanasia – and thus endorse two decades of tacit medical practice – have electrified an otherwise staid campaign leading up to May 6 elections. The reformist D66 party, which is a junior partner in the current three-way ruling coalition, is fighting the campaign on a pro-euthanasia ticket. The Liberal and Green Left parties are also reported to be pro-euthanasia.The opposition Christian Democrats party (CDA) is vigorously pro-life and says it will not countenance the pro-euthanasia proposals. CDA is the second largest party in the current parliament, with 34 of 150 seats. Doctors helped 3,200 people die in 1996.

Forced abortions reported on U.S. territory

WASHINGTON – A Senate subcommittee has heard testimony of labor-camp conditions – including forced abortion – on the U.S. territory of Saipan, an island in the Pacific that is home to tens of thousands of garment workers for firms including The Gap and Ralph Lauren. The fact that pregnant garment workers are forced to have abortions to keep their jobs was first reported by the ABC-TV news program 20/20, and was confirmed by Clinton administration officials.