LIFE DIGEST: Pro-lifers should avoid 'Idol Gives Back,' organization leader says; ...

WASHINGTON (BP)--"Idol Gives Back," the charity program of "American Idol," is not worthy of support from people who regard unborn life as sacred, a pro-life leader says.

The hugely popular Fox television series will hold its charity fundraising event for the second year with a 2½-hour telecast April 9. Last year, Idol Gives Back raised more than $76 million for charities that combat poverty, disease and other problems.

Among the six charities named as beneficiaries of this year's program, however, is one -– Save the Children -- that partners internationally with organizations that promote abortion as a method of family planning, according to Life Decisions International (LDI). Save the Children, which received $14.5 million last year from Idol Gives Back, has working relationships with Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Action International and the Center for Reproductive Rights, LDI said.

LDI President Douglas Scott applauded the desire of American Idol to aid the poor but said it is "tragic" a charity such as Save the Children, which he said has "far too much deadly baggage," will benefit from the effort.

"If you believe the plight of preborn children is as important as the plight of the poor, do not participate in 'Idol Gives Back,'" Scott said in a written release. "We are caring people who want to do our part to help those less fortunate, but we will do so through organizations that do not view the killing of human beings as a 'solution' to poverty and other adult-created problems."

NARAL WON'T FIGHT DOWN SYNDROME BILL -- NARAL Pro-choice America, a leading abortion rights organization, will not oppose a bill designed to reduce the killing of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome or other conditions.

NARAL President Nancy Keenan told McClatchy Newspapers her organization will not work to defeat the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act, S. 1810.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., a leading pro-life advocate, would require that parents whose children receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or another impairment be provided with the latest information on the condition and be informed of support services available. This would apply to a diagnosis on a child before birth or until a year after birth. The measure also would establish a registry of families willing to adopt special needs children.

"Unlike other legislation Senator Brownback sponsors, this measure does not include anti-choice rhetoric or policy provisions that would harm women's health," Keenan said, according to McClatchy. "It's our view that the bill offers information and services to expectant women and does not undermine their right to choose."

It has been estimated about 90 percent of American children diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome are aborted. A similar abortion percentage exists for unborn babies diagnosed with spina bifida, cystic fibrosis and dwarfism, according to Brownback's office.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the bill Feb. 27, but there has been no action by the full Senate.

ROYAL COLLEGE: ABORTION MAY IMPERIL MENTAL HEALTH -- Women considering abortion should not undergo the procedure until they are informed of the potential danger to their mental health, England's Royal College of Psychiatrists said March 14.

The new recommendation is a blow to the view commonly expressed, especially by abortion rights advocates, that completing an unwanted pregnancy poses a greater risk to mental health than the regret of having an abortion. It is believed more than 90 percent of the 200,000 abortions annually in Great Britain are performed because doctors think carrying the baby to term would cause more mental stress than ending the child's life, The Times of London reported.

In its statement, the Royal College said research is "inconclusive" on the mental health impact of abortion. It said some studies demonstrate no proof of harm, while others identify a number of mental problems in post-abortion women.

The practice of abortion should include "informed consent," according to the statement. "Consent cannot be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information regarding the possible risks and benefits to physical and mental health."

Peter Saunders, general secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said, according to The Times, "How can a doctor now justify an abortion [on mental health grounds] if psychiatrists are questioning whether there is any clear evidence that continuing with the pregnancy leads to mental health problems?"

The statement was released as the British Parliament prepares to vote on a measure to roll back the maximum time limit for abortions "for social reasons" from 24 weeks into pregnancy to 20 weeks, The Times reported.

The Royal College recommendation followed by less than a month the report that a young artist committed suicide in regret over her abortions. Emma Beck, 30, hanged herself last year in response to her grief over aborting her twins in September 2006, according to information released at a Feb. 21 coroner's inquest in Cornwall.

"I should never have had an abortion," she wrote before her suicide, according to the Daily Mail, a London newspaper. "I was frightened, now it is too late. I died when my babies died. I want to be with my babies -– they need me, no one else does."

SOUTH DAKOTA ENACTS ULTRASOUND LAW -- South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds signed into law March 13 a measure requiring a woman seeking an abortion be given the option of viewing an ultrasound image of her unborn baby before undergoing the lethal procedure.

South Dakota became the 12th state to adopt legislation mandating abortion doctors must at least offer a woman the opportunity to see a sonogram of the child in her womb, according to the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).

Pregnancy care centers have reported dramatic upswings in clients choosing to give birth after viewing ultrasound images of their babies.

Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief of Baptist Press.

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