No jail time for unborn baby’s death

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – A teenage boy, now 17, who beat his pregnant girlfriend’s belly with a miniature baseball bat, inducing a miscarriage, has pleaded no contest to criminal charges and will avoid jail. Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith had earlier described the crime as “shocking and reprehensible” and pledged he would not entertain a plea bargain, but then defended his ultimate leniency in the case. The youth will probably serve two years of juvenile probation and may have the case dismissed completely after that time. He had faced a 15-year felony charge or incarceration in a juvenile centre until the age of 21. The mother, who consented to the beating, was not charged in the case.

Abstinence program shows results

CLEVELAND, Oh. – A study published in the American Journal of Health Behaviour indicates that an abstinence-until-marriage program is producing encouraging results among middle school students in greater Cleveland. Students who have participated in the program, called “For Keeps,” report having had fewer sexual partners and delaying sexual conduct for an average of five months. The lead author of the study is characterizing the results as a surprise. “Everyone says that kids who have had sex won’t find programs like this relevant,” said Dr. Elaine Borawski, a public health researcher at Case Western Reserve University. But, she said, “It did seem that it resonated with them more than we thought.” Supporters of abstinence education are pushing for more such studies.

FDA requires birth control for

Accutane users

WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration has placed tough new restrictions on the anti-acne drug Accutane, because it can cause birth defects in unborn children. Users, doctors who prescribe the drug and drugstores that sell it must all register. Young women of childbearing age who use the drug are also required to have two negative pregnancy tests before they are eligible to use the drug. However, the FDA is also requiring women using the drug to use two methods of birth control and to enter those on the FDA database. There was no word as to whether abstinence would count as meeting the requirement.

Europe presses China on religious freedom

STRASBOURG, France – The European Parliament has called upon the Chinese government to put an end to religious repression and provide information on missing bishops, priests and pastors, including Bishop James Su Zhimin of Baoding, who was “arrested” in 1997 and has been missing since, and pastor Zhang Rongliang, a founder of the 10-million-member Chinese Church for Christ, who was arrested last December. The EP passed the resolution by a 78-5 vote. It also urged China respect international standards of human rights, including religious rights, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of the media and political freedom.

The resolution also called for the unconditional release of all Christians who are incarcerated on account of their religious convictions. It endorsed the UN Commission on Religious Intolerance’s 1994 suggestion that Beijing abolish the difference between “approved” and “non-approved” worship communities. The resolution directed the European Council and European Commission to take up these issues in their talks with Beijing.

Peruvian court, nixes MAP

LIMA, Peru – A court injunction has been granted in Lima that will stop the distribution of the “morning-after pill” in that country until such a time as it is determined not to be an abortifacient. Peru’s constitution protects life from the moment of conception. The injunction was granted in response to a petition filed by the Association for the Struggle Against Corruption Without Compromise, a non-governmental organization located in Peru. The government said it will appeal the ruling.

Gay ‘marriage’ a bust in Spain

MADRID – Only 22 same-sex “marriages” have been registered in Spain since a law was introduced in July, compared to the 35,000 heterosexual marriages that have taken place in the same period. Spero News writer Robert Duncan described SSM as a “bust,” noting: “The so-called need for legalizing homosexual ‘marriages’ in Spain has one big problem.

Hardly anybody wanted it – that is, except the politicians.” La Razon, a Spanish newspaper, determined that just two out of every registered 100 homosexual couples “decided to take this step” toward marriage. Meanwhile, at least two judges who have refused to commit same-sex “weddings” are challenging the new law as unconstitutional.

Humans cloned without use of sperm

ROSLIN, Scotland – The Roslin Institute, creators of Dolly the cloned sheep, report creating the first embryonic humans without the use of sperm from the genetic material of the mother alone. The group said they stimulated an egg to divide without the use of human sperm to a stage of development where they hope they can “mine” cells for experimental research purposes. “At the moment, we have not managed to get stem cells from these embryos, but that continues to be our ambition,” Dr Paul De Sousa said at the British Association’s Festival of Science in Dublin. “It is another example of Frankenstein science, which illustrates how out of touch with public opinion these recent scientific developments are,” said Matthew O’Gorman, a spokesman for the Life pro-life organization. The law in the United Kingdom permits the creation of cloned embryos for so-called “therapeutic” use.

Ukrainian babies sold for body parts?

KHARKOV, Ukraine – A report in a British newspaper suggests that the trade in unborn baby parts may be moving to include born babies as well, with allegations that newborns are disappearing from Ukrainian maternity wards. It is known that the Institute for Problems of Cryobiology and Cryomedicine of the National Academy of Sciences advertises fetal body parts, including spleen cells and fragments of fetal spines. Any baby born at less than 27 weeks’ gestation in the Ukraine is officially registered as an abortion.

It is believed that other, “unregistered” babies, whether alive or dead, are taken from their mothers and sold for body parts.