Canada’s fertility rate falling

OTTAWA – According to Statistics Canada, the country’s fertility rate is falling way below replacement level. The fertility rate – the average number of children born per woman – fell to 1.52, compared to the American rate of 2.08. Experts attribute the decline at least in part to young women deciding to postpone marriage while getting established in a career. “When you postpone having children, you have fewer,” Alain Belanger, co-author of the Report on the Demographic Situation in Canada, told the Toronto Star. “Women in both countries expect to have two children, but in Canada they don’t get them, while in the U.S. they do.” That could be partly because 28 per cent of American women in their early 20s are married, compared to only 17 per cent in Canada. Another factor appears to be religious faith, which encourages marriage and more stable unions. According to the study, 34 per cent of American women in their childbearing years attend a house of worship once a week, compared to only 18 per cent for Canadian women. If such low fertility rates persist, Belanger warns that in 20 years, “we will have more deaths than births … We will have a larger percentage of our population 65 and older and a smaller proportion of young people and people in the labour force.”

Heavy price for two children

BEIJING – A Chinese province that allows one child per family has raised fines for not aborting a second child to eight times an offending couple’s annual income. Rising incomes in Guangdong, one of the country’s wealthiest provinces, have allowed more couples to afford unauthorized pregnancies, which are legitimized once the fine is paid. President George W. Bush withdrew $34 million in funding for the United Nation Fund for Population Activities after he was informed that forced abortions were common in parts of Guangdong.

AIDS myth cause for two rapes

JOHANNESBURG – A week-old baby girl was raped by “an unknown person” recently, making her the youngest victim in a spate of child rapes caused by the myth that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS. Police said the girl was seriously injured but is in stable condition. A nine-month-old baby was also raped recently in South Africa by 23-year-old David Poste. Both babies survived the attacks.

Anglicans get pro-life leader

LONDON – Rowan Williams, the new archbishop of Canterbury, has pleased those concerned about protecting the lives of women and unborn children. He’s a member of the English pro-life organization, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. Williams was recommended for the post by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. British pro-lifers note that the archbishop has been a life member of SPUC for many years, and they are delighted to see that someone with such positive pro-life views has been recommended for the most senior position in the Church of England.

Europe increases UNFPA funding

STRASBOURG – The European Union has announced that it will replace the money which the U.S. government denied to the pro-abortion United Nations Fund for Population Activities, on account of its involvement with forced abortions in China. The Guardian newspaper in Britain reported that the European Commission will provide 32 million euros (about £20.3 million) for “sexual and reproductive health projects”run by the UNFPA and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in 22 countries. Demands for the EU to fill the funding gap left by the pro-life foreign aid policies of President Bush’s administration have been led by Claire Short, the U.K.’s international development secretary.

Abortion and health

WASHINGTON – Elizabeth Shadigian and Joel Brind, two leading researchers into abortion’s effects on women, say women can suffer a range of short- and long-term health complications from abortion. Pro-Life Infonet reports that the two took part in a series of lectures designed to highlight the Family Research Council’s Building a Culture of Life action plan to reduce abortions. They focused on the ignored, but serious, dangers of abortion. “There is no mandatory reporting of any abortion complications in the United States, including maternal death,” Shadigian explained. As a result, “publications on maternal mortality are not accurate,” she said.

Partial birth abortion ban

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 274-151, Congress’s latest ban on partial-birth abortions. However, reports indicate that Senate majority leader Tom Daschle may not allow a vote on the issue this year. Former president Bill Clinton twice vetoed a partial-birth abortion ban, but President Bush has said he will sign such a bill. The White House says that it is “morally imperative and constitutionally permissible to prohibit this very abhorrent form of abortion.” Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) told The Interim that while a veto-proof majority of 67 is not needed, the loss of five pro-life senators in the 2000 elections – and the change in party control in the Senate – may make it difficult to get the necessary 60 votes to force a vote on the bill over Daschle’s objections.

Fathers have no choice

PHILADELPHIA – John Stachokus petitioned a Pennsylvania court recently to ban Tanya Meyers, his former girlfriend, from aborting their child. The ban was granted, but Meyers later appealed the decision and it was lifted. “Neither an ex-boyfriend nor a fetus has standing to interfere with a woman’s choice to terminate her pregnancy,” said Judge Michael Conahan of the Luzerne County Court. A similar case took place in Canada in 1989. The Canadian Supreme Court ruled unanimously in that case that would-be fathers have no legal right to intervene to stop an abortion.

Presbyterians reaffirm pro-abortion stance

COLUMBUS,-Ohio- According to the Salt Lake City Desert News, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) assembly has reaffirmed its support for abortion before “viability,” to save a woman’s life, to “avoid fetal suffering,” or in cases of rape or incest. The assembly also approved a measure that says the mother must receive counselling from pastors and doctors. Terry Schlossberg, of Presbyterians Pro-Life, noted that the church’s official position is not in line with biblical teaching: “This allows for so many exceptions; there’s no way for the church to counsel that any late-term abortion would be objectionable,” he said.

Humans already being cloned?

BOSTON – Human cloning is becoming increasingly common in labs around the world, as several scientific teams regularly produce cloned embryos, and many more labs are ready to follow, according to the Boston Globe. Researchers believe that U.S. labs are quietly preparing to create microscopic human embryos to harvest stem cells. Many U.S. scientists are waiting for some political calm before cloning their own human. Dr. Xiangzhang Yang said he’s been briefed on human cloning in “half a dozen labs” in China, and is pushing his colleagues there to seek publication of their work in Western peer-reviewed journals, since at least one lab has successfully cloned a human.