News Roundup

More US states challenge Obama transgender directive

Ten more states in America have joined the fight to sue the Obama administration over its transgender directive on access to toilet and shower facilities. Announcing the beginning of the latest legal actions, Nebraska’s Attorney General Doug Peterson said of the directive: “It’s putting school districts in a terrible position. It’s trying to push a certain agenda through our school systems, and we need to simply stand up and say this does not make sense.” Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming joined Nebraska in the lawsuit.

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US abortion industry hampering government investigation

A congressional panel investigating America’s abortion industry and trade in foetal remains for research has accused abortion providers and companies of hampering its work. Already midway through its investigation, the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives says multiple requests for information from clinics and companies have not been complied with. According to a preliminary report from the panel, 34 different entities have not fully complied with its requests for documents. “Instead of helping us shine light, they’re trying to pull the curtain and hide what’s actually happening,” Sean Duffy, a panel member said. “The industry, I would argue, has been less than cooperative, and I think we have to ask ourselves, why?”

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High birth rate sees Ireland’s population at record high

Ireland’s high birth rate has helped Ireland’s population grow to its highest level in 150 years, new figures show. The latest census reveals that, despite high levels of emigration, the Republic’s population has reached 4.65 million, up from 4.58 million five years ago. Justin Gleeson of the All-Ireland Research Observatory based at Maynooth University said. “In the last two census periods we saw major population increases of about 8 per cent”. He continued: “Now we’re seeing much more marginal increases of about 1.5 per cent. While the natural population increase [births minus deaths] is still very positive in Ireland, the major contributory factor to this lower population growth is the change in net migration flows.”

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UK births to women over 40 outstrip under-20s

Women in Britain aged 40 and over are having more babies than those under 20 for the first time in 70 years. According to new Office for National Statistics data, based on a cohort of 697,852 live births in 2015, 15.2 births per 1,000 were to women over 40, compared to 14.5 per 1,000 for women in their teens, a disparity not seen since 1947 in the wake of World War II. Advances in fertility treatment as well as more women in higher education and attitudes around the importance of a career and the rising costs of childbearing are behind the rise, the ONS says. The data also shows that fertility rates have dropped in all age groups under 25 while increasing for all age groups 30 and over.

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Canadian Archbishop laments ‘decline in respect for life’ with suicide law

The Catholic Bishop of Vancouver, Michael Miller has described a “rapid decline in respect for life” already growing across Canada as a result of a newly introduced assisted suicide law and warned of growing threats to palliative care. “Last week in British Columbia,” he said, “we saw the first constitutional challenge of the new law, demanding assisted suicide for non-terminal illnesses. A few days ago, a Montreal hospital said that it may allow assisted suicide in its palliative care unit. Across Canada, some provincial governments and medical regulators are trying to compel participation in euthanasia and assisted suicide by doctors and other health-care workers. Can anyone doubt that before long what few protections exist will be history, just as Canada’s previous law against assisted suicide is history?”

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US legislators pass conscience protection Bill on abortion

The US House of Representatives has passed a Bill designed to protect the conscience rights of pro-life Americans who are against funding abortions or participating in terminations as medical practitioners. The House voted 245 to 182 in favour of the Conscience Protection Act. During the debate on the legislation, House Speaker Paul Ryan stated: “No one should be forced to violate their conscience—least of all by the federal government. That’s all this Bill says. The federal government—or anyone who receives taxpayer dollars—cannot discriminate against health care providers who do not perform abortions.” Pro-Life groups warmly welcomed the passage of the Bill.

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Spanish fertility company purchases Irish base to offer anonymous egg donation

A Spanish fertility company has purchased a site in Ireland with the intention of providing genetic screening and anonymous egg donation here. The Institut Marques, which operates under a more lax legal regime in Spain, has purchased the Clane Fertility Clinic in Kildare and plans to import anonymously donated eggs to circumvent planned laws against such donations in Ireland. “We want to do all of the types of treatment that you can’t do, or have been really hard to do in Ireland, and we want to do them here,” Dr Hans Arce of the Institut Marques said.

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Britain’s United Reformed Church to conduct same-sex weddings

The United Reformed Church (URC) in Britain is to conduct same-sex weddings following an overwhelming vote in favour of the move. With the 240-21 vote by its General Assembly, the United Reformed Church becomes the largest denomination in Britain to cater for same-sex ceremonies, with 1,500 churches across the country. The leader of the URC said that there would be no compulsion on local churches to follow the move. “Those of our churches who now wish to offer full marriage services to same-sex couples are free to do just that – and those churches who do not wish to are not compelled to,” said Rev. John Proctor, General Secretary of the URC. “All are part of this denomination. This has been a sensitive issue for many in our churches.”

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Abortion killing more black Americans than all other causes

A black pastor in the United States has said that abortion outstrips the 13 other leading causes of death among black Americans. Pastor Walter B. Hoye II has conducted a study of deaths within the black American community in light of the current issue of police shootings of black men. According to his own studies, the pastor reveals that, among other causes, abortion ends 53.2 more black lives for every homicide, 5.9 times more than heart disease, 6.3 times more than cancer, and 182.3 times more than suicide.

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‘Designer babies’ could have serious health issues – scientists

So-called ‘designer babies’ born through Genetically Modified (GM) embryos could carry serious health issue with them, new research has suggested. Conducted by researchers at the CNIC research institute in Madrid, Spain, experiments carried out on mice involving mitochondrial replacement – DNA ‘editing’ – caused rapid ageing and metabolic changes. The results have sparked fears in Britain, the only nation to allow the process, that the same effects could be experienced in GM babies. Scientists at Newcastle University are pushing ahead with trials on DNA editing babies despite warnings.
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