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Report from SPUC AGM

 The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children held its national conference at the Hayes Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire, last weekend. Over 200 delegates attended a series of talks and workshops on key issues including the Mental Capacity Bill and euthanasia, pro-life lobbying in the new European Parliament and the morning-after pill. IVF Dr John Fleming, President of Campion College in Sydney, Australia, and a founder member of the UNESCO committee on bioethics, gave a talk entitled, 'Why IVF is Wrong', guiding delegates through a medically and ethically complex area with clarity and conviction. He looked particularly at the commodification of human life by IVF, the wastage of human embryos involved and the link between IVF and abortion. Abortion Marijo Zivkovic, Director of the Family Centre in Zagreb, Croatia, spoke with great enthusiasm about the advances that are being made in the pro-life field in Croatia. Years of pro-life campaigning and educational work begun during the time of Communism have resulted in a sustained decline in the number of abortions being carried out in Croatia and an increase in stable families. The Mental Capacity Bill James Bogle, Barrister of the Middle Temple who assisted SPUC's successful intervention in the Diane Pretty right-to-die case, gave a talk on the dangers of the Bill which is to receive its second reading on 11 October. He also examined the implications of the Leslie Burke case, in which a disabled man demanded that he should receive full medical treatment and care in the event of becoming incapacitated. Leslie Burke won his case and the General Medical Council's guidelines were declared illegal, but some points of the judgement remain a cause for serious concern among pro-life activists. The Morning After Pill Dr Seyi Hotonu, a medical doctor and researcher for The Christian Institute, gave a talk entitled, 'The Morning After Pill: The medical cost of reducing teenage pregnancies', in which she looked at the abortion-inducing action of the Levonelle-2 drug and its relation to increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and growing rates of sexually transmitted infection among young people. Workshops included subjects such as prenatal testing and coping with an unplanned pregnancy. Source: SPUC