Christians leaving Middle East due to religious intolerance

WASHINGTON – A report released by the Hudson Institute’s Centre for Religious Freedom says there is an increasing exodus of Christian and other religious minorities in the Middle East, who are facing increasing harrassment and decreasing rights to practise their faiths in predominantly Muslim countries. Paul Marshall, of the Hudson Institute and former University of Toronto professor, says that the report has left him pessimistic about both religious freedom and the rights of Christians in the region. Increasing incidents of violence against Christians have caused several Christian villages to be completely abandoned, including traditional Christian communities in Turkey.

British parental notification bill defeated

LONDON – The British parliament has voted 159-87 against a bill that would have required a minor to receive parental consent before undergoing an abortion. The bill was introduced by Conservative MP Angela Watkinson, who said that current sex-education programs, which include the promotion of contraceptives, are not working and that, “In education about the real risks involved and the likely outcomes, the advice to underage girls should be to abstain, to wait, to delay, to resist. Not to use contraception and believe they will not come to any harm. Parents need to be part of this process.”

Genetic screening decreases IVF success rates

AMSTERDAM – A recent study has showed that women undergoing IVF treatments reduce their chances of becoming pregnant if they genetically screen their embryos for defects. “It could be that the biopsy of one cell needed for pre-genetic screening is more harmful to the ultimate development of the embryo than we had previously thought,” said Dr. Sebastiaan Mastenbroek of the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at the University of Amsterdam. The study involved 408 women between the ages of 35 and 41. Of those who had their embryos screened, only 25 per cent became pregnant, compared to 37 per cent of those who did not. In addition, the cell examined through genetic screening may not necessarily be representative of the entire embryo. Some experts believe that fertility centres promote these tests simply for financial benefit; each one can cost up to $5,000. Also, many couples use IVF specifically to select the sex of their offspring.

Support for Maltese amendment protecting unborn

MARSASCALA, Malta – More than eight in 10 – 84 per cent – of Maltese polled stated they would support a proposed constitutional amendment that would protect the unborn child’s right to life and prevent abortion from being legalized in that country in the future. Just 8 per cent of respondents disagreed with the amendment and 8 per cent said that they were unsure. In addition, 34 of 65 MPs support the amendment, despite pressure from the UN and European Union to legalize abortion. Currently, Malta does not allow abortion for any reason.

Sex-selective abortions likely continuing in India

NEW DELHI – Indian health officials discovered at least eight skulls and 35 small bones buried in a septic tank behind an illegal nursing home in a suburb of New Delhi. The facility is run by an unqualified doctor. The chief medical officer of the area, Dr. Satyavir S. Dalal, confirmed that the bones were of unborn or newly born babies and that “it looks to be a case of female feticide.” Abortion equipment and an ultrasound machine were recovered at the site; the bones will be forensically examined to determine their ages and sex. Abortion is legal in India, but not for the purpose of sex selection. A 2001 census showed 933 females per 1,000 males, with a ratio of 861 females per 1,000 males in Haryana State – both reflections of a cultural bias in favour of boys, in part because many families are too poor to provide doweries for their daughters.

Ukraine traffics baby parts

KIEV – In a recent Human Life International special report, Brian Clowes stated that there are centres spanning the globe, such as the Institute for Regenerative Care (IRM) in Barbados, that claim they can cure any disease using embryonic stem cells. Patients pay as much as $25,000 per session to be injected with a “kind of pre-born puree” harvested from embryonic and fetal human beings that these centres falsely claim can “seek out diseased or damaged cells in the patient’s body and repair them.” Many of these stem cells are taken from children in countries such as the Ukraine. Ukrainian doctors are told to convince women to have abortions by exaggerating the risks of birth defects. After exposing this fact, Dr. Vadym Lazaryev had to escape the Ukraine, because he was being harassed by government officials. Sometimes women, especially gypsies, who are poor and powerless are told that their newborn babies did not survive. These babies are then dismembered without anesthesia while they are still alive and their cells used in bogus treatments abroad.